IT’S never easy to find somewhere a bit different to escape to on your lunch hour even at the best of times.
But the current temperature situation brings with it a very different set of challenges.
Namely finding somewhere that isn’t far from the office so you can avoid spending too long trudging around, bracing yourself against the icy blasts of wind whistling around the streets of Leeds and dodging the surging tide of Christmas shoppers.
So it’s with no apologies whatsoever that Oliver admits my companion and I’s primary motivation for visiting The Roast Café was that it lies less than five minutes from the new offices of the YEP.
As it turned out though, we would have been hard pressed to have done better any further afield.
Tucked into the bottom of the Whitehall Riverside office complex, the venue offers a lovely view of the river which, once your out of the cold, is pleasantly tranquil on a crisp, winter’s afternoon.
The café is warm and comfortable-looking thanks to lots of red and pine colours and the friendly staff.
Large, spacious and airy, it looked the perfect place to relax.
It seemed a lot of people both from offices nearby and the building itself had the same idea as us as there where only a few seats left.
We ordered at the counter after looking at the large board mounted behind it and the specials chalk board near the door.
Rather than pick from the wide selection of freshly-made cold sandwiches, we both decided something hot was definitely in order to stave off the big chill.
To that end, my companion ordered a fish finger butty along with some chunky chips.
Served in a huge, white roll, the fish was in a light, crispy batter and was incredibly soft and full of flavour.
The chips were served in a small stack and were deliciously fluffy inside.
With the addition of a bit of salt and vinegar, it really was the perfect winter warmer and was quickly polished off.
The specials board gave me some inspiration for something a little bit festively different, and I ordered a turkey and cranberry burger.
Served on a rustic-looking wooden board, the burger looked quite compact but was bursting full of flavour, with lots of onion and seasoning.
The chef had done a great job of keeping the turkey nice and moist – a little bit too good as it happened, as the juices from the burger caused the sesame seed bun to disintegrate after the first mouthful.
Despite being forced to abandon the pick it up and bite it technique, I still finished the whole thing and was quite surprised how filling and satisfying the seemingly small burger turned out to be.
The burger came with my own portion of chunky chips too, and from the look of the evening menu, The Roast has lots more to offer the burger fan.
Along with a couple of soft drinks and a lovely, freshly-made flapjack from the counter, the bill came to just over £17, not bad at all considering we’d ventured away from simple sandwiches and opted for something a bit more substantial.
And based on this performance, it will take quite a lot to tempt Oliver to venture any further into town this winter.