First look at new tapas restaurant Ricci’s and cocktail bar in Leeds

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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MOST of you will know about the Greek Street revolution – but now the impact of the multi-million pound investment is being felt a little further afield.

The street is welcoming dozens of new arrivals, from restaurants Tattu and Gusto to bars such as The Alchemist and The Liquorist.

Graffiti art adorns the walls in the corridors at 53 Degrees North.

Graffiti art adorns the walls in the corridors at 53 Degrees North.

And this week, there is a new kid on the block.

City Buzz exclusively reported that Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti was opening on the corner of Infirmary Street and we got a sneak peek of the new arrival at the VIP launch.

The venue on the corner of the Grade II-listed Goodbard House is in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The former Allied Irish Bank site has been split into two – creating the Ricci’s restaurant and adjoining cocktail bar 53 Degrees North.

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The bar takes its name from the line of latitude on which the original site was first founded in Halifax, and has a laid-back late lounge feel.

Owner Michael Ricci plans to invite artists and DJs from around the world, who will be flown in especially to perform, as well as weekly resident DJs and up-and-coming local talent.

Mr Ricci owns three other sites in Halifax and has worked alongside executive chef Mark Kemp to create dishes such as poached hake in beer with cockles, asparagus and nduja and goats cheese churros with truffle honey.

The pair aim to offer diners a twist on traditional tapas.

53 Degrees North.

53 Degrees North.

Other highlights of the menu include pan-fried lamb lollipops and tempura of soft shell crab with harissa, tomato and ginger aioli.

The experimental cocktail menu has been created by in-house mixologists.

Speaking previously, Mr Ricci said: “Leeds has such a vibrant, buzzing, social scene that is constantly evolving.

“The bars and eateries play a vital role in making Leeds the thriving city it has become.

Pan-fried lamb lollipops.

Pan-fried lamb lollipops.

“We want to be part of it.”

He added: “We are passionate about creating exceptional food and drink to create an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti and 53 Degrees North.

“We want to bring something fresh and new to the table which will surprise and excite the people of Leeds and we will do just that.”

The restaurant’s interior is modern, with Yorkshire stone, reclaimed red bricks and bespoke artwork.

Graffiti artist Ben Allen was brought in especially to create eye-catching art for the restaurant.

It also boasts a basement gin bar, private dining room and boardroom.

The basement bar at 53 Degrees North.

The basement bar at 53 Degrees North.

Competition will be fierce, with the likes of nearby tapas neighbours La Rambla and Iberica already established in the area.

But so far the Ricci brand has proved a hit – with fans including restaurant critic Giles Coren.

Mr Ricci added: “Giles can be brutal and controversial but he came to visit us in Halifax and loved what we were about.

“Hopefully Leeds will welcome us with open arms and enjoy what we are doing.

“The proof will be in the pudding!”

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