THE GREEK Street rejuvenation is well and truly under way.
You might not have noticed it though, as it’s been a bit of a slow burner.
Cast your minds back about six months and it may have even seemed impossible to imagine this side of the city centre could possibly be on the up.
Take, for example, the number of closures going on – Prohibition, Quid Pro Quo, OK Karaoke, The Living Room, Sam’s Chophouse, the list goes on.
But the area has taken a huge U-turn and, thanks to some major investment, is attracting all kinds of attention from a range of businesses.
New kids on the block include bars such as The Liquorist and The Office, while tapas restaurant La Rambla is leading the way for restaurant openings.
And now there’s a new Italian restaurant joining the ranks.
Gusto opened its doors to the public last night.
The impressive 6,700sq ft restaurant can seat up to 160 diners and takes over the old Henry’s Bar site at Pennine House.
It has seen an investment of £1million, with the chic decor combining classic and contemporary design.
The drinks menu features a range of wine and more than 100 cocktails.
The food menu includes Italian brasserie classics and a variety of pizzas – baked in a traditional wood fired oven – as well as pasta and risotto.
Stand-out dishes include salmon tartare and quails egg and whole salt-baked sea bass, but it’s the Nutella and mascarpone calzone that caught our eye.
There will also be a lunch and afternoon tea menu.
You may have heard of Gusto before, as there is another restaurant in Cookridge, as well as 10 others across the country.
The north Leeds site opened in 2008 and has become a firm favourite with locals.
Managing director of Gusto, Sue Crimes, said: “This is a very exciting time for Gusto.
“We are delighted to be opening a second restaurant in Leeds.
“Gusto is evolving as a brand and whilst we have changed the style of the decor a little and changed the logo, the new Gusto has everything that our customers have come to expect from us and a little but more.”
She added: “Leeds city centre’s restaurant scene is in a period of enormous growth and we felt the time was right to introduce Gusto to the city.
“The casual dining sector is well catered for in Leeds, so we feel there is definitely room for a high-quality, sophisticated venue – particularly on Greek Street where we expect to see a lot of interest from the business community.”
With office space being quickly snapped up around Greek Street there will be no shortage of customers. But we’re pretty sure Greek Street will become the new ‘go-to’ place without relying on that.
With the Alchemist soon to unveil its new bar on the street and the luxury four-star Dakota Hotel opening across the road, there will be plenty of reasons to keep revellers heading to this side of town.
It’s time that Greek Street gets the attention it deserves, so let’s hope the momentum continues.
l Diners can get 25 per cent off food from now until July 31, but bookings must be made online at gustorestaurants.uk.com/leedspreview.