For those non-believers seeking a cure for their distaste, their safest bet lies within the multi-purpose coffee house and event space on Kirkstall Road, where I struggle to imagine someone turning their nose up at the salty, sesame and soy-infused mushroom and kale dish conjured up by the talented Archive chef.
It’s a feat that’s repeated across the menu: humble vegetables transformed into a spectacle of taste - colourfully presented - by the careful curation of mouth-watering embellishments. The likes of pink pickled onion, lemongrass and chili jam flatter simple ingredients - beans, eggs, peppers - to form an experience which made me fall in love with food again.
With fresh ingredients and unique flavours, it’s the kind of meal that made me wish, from the first bite, that my stomach would grow so I could eat it twice.
The menu caters well to those who find it hard to choose, as dishes are customisable with the additions of lunch staples like bacon and hash browns, meaning you can try a few spicy beans on the side if you can’t resist making courgette fritters the main event.
Archive offers good value food, served by friendly folk, in comfortable surroundings.
On my Tuesday afternoon visit, it’s quiet but for the indie dream-pop soundtrack and the light snores of a french bulldog snoozing at the feet of his companion, who is tapping away at her laptop. Archive is a prime spot for a little solo study but serves many more functions besides.
Behind the cosy coffee shop front is a large open space decked out with simple benches and tables, with powerpoints hanging by vines from the high ceiling of a repurposed industrial building now softened by fairy lights and candles.
By night, the versatile space holds talks, music and screenings, but even at 4pm the venue plays host to a range of occasions, with lanyard-clad colleagues talking production to my left while, on the sofa opposite, a pair of lovers read quietly side by side.
It’s a venue which serves many functions but, whatever the reason for your visit - you simply must try the mushrooms.
Address: 94 Kirkstall Road, LS3 1HD
Telephone: 07444 710139
Opening hours: Mon, 10am-3pm; Tues, Fri-Sun, 10am-5pm; Weds-Thurs, 10am-9pm.