Leeds has long been at the forefront of the independent coffee shop scene and so standing apart from the crowd is no easy task.
Found besides the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Granary Wharf, Out of the Woods occupies a small, curvy, glass fronted space on a corner next to the Fazenda restaurant, a perfect location for passing trade from train commuters, local office workers and a much wider crowd on weekends.
Open until 4pm weekdays and only until 2.30pm on Saturdays, it opens in time to catch the early birds and specialises in breakfasts, lunches and, of course, coffee.
This snug outfit is bedecked in wood, as you would imagine from its name. Rustic wooden floorboards lead up to a counter that appears to be made of precisely the same cuts of wood.
There are only three or four small red wooden tables but with enough stools to comfortably fit four people around. Along the glass window frontage is a low hanging surface, again accompanied by red wooden stools, which make for ideal perches for gazing canal-wards and at the passing human traffic.
Long stemmed lights hang down from the ceiling and it all comes together to create surprising snug ambiance given the floor to ceiling windows in this modern part of town.
Apparently Out of the Woods, which also has an outlet at Water Lane within the Holbeck Urban Village site, was established in 2006 out of a frustration at the lack of availability of good quality local food. Where Woods addresses that is by sourcing its coffee from Dark Woods of Huddersfield, bread from Gilchrists Bakery in Harehills, organic milk from Acorn Dairies in Leyburn and sweet treats from Brown & Blond and White Rose Bakes, both in York.
It serves a selection of freshly made sandwiches, soups, salads, smoothies and coffee at reasonable prices.
Breakfast options include toasties, porridge, bacon butties and granola.
Sandwich fillings range from tuna and Yorkshire roast ham to chicken and avocado, free range egg mayo, spicy vegetable pakora and hummus and falafel.
On this lunch time visit I try a ‘deluxe toastie’ containing thick gooey cheddar cheese, chopped up Swedish meatballs and a squirt of sweet chili sauce for £3.50. It takes a little while for the food to be prepared but proves worth the wait. The chunky toasted granary bread is particularly tasty and a triumph of local sourcing.
Washed down with a latte and accompanied by a bag of Yorkshire crisps, my bill comes to £7.
Cheerful service topped off a satisfactory stop off. A taste of Yorkshire in the city centre.