Hepworth's deli review: The small Leeds cafe with large portions

Hepworth's deli, Leeds.
Hepworth's deli, Leeds.

How do you feel about generous portions?

If you didn’t take that as a rhetorical question and answered in the negative, it might be best to flick over the page now and save yourself some time.

The buttermilk pancakes at Hepworth's deli, Leeds.

The buttermilk pancakes at Hepworth's deli, Leeds.

Hepworth’s Deli and Kitchen, tucked snugly into Thornton’s Arcade in Leeds city centre, doesn’t look from outside as though it’s the type of place that piles lashings of your order on to the plate.

The abbreviation of “deli” itself denotes to this reviewer something a little more cultured, a little more cutesy, and the small cafe’s stylish aesthetic definitely complies with this – takeaway brownies, beer bottles for decorations, and a reverent display of Yorkshire pride are all given a good showing.

But generous portions it does.

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That’s not to say it’s quantity over quality, though.

On what was maybe our fourth trip to Hepworth’s, me and my friend again found great service, an enticing menu which delivers with brilliant flavour and, well, a mighty stitch at the end.

We’re in a bit of a rush when we sit down at the one remaining table during a post-lunch rush on a weekday, but our orders came promptly.

There are only maybe six or seven tables, all for small groups, and we’re lucky to get in. It serves breakfasts and brunches all day, offers salads and sandwiches, along with more indulgent, sweet dishes. Produce is sourced “as locally as possible”, the menu says, which I think means regionally.

I remember not getting the lamb sandwich last time, then having to stop myself from glaring at someone on another table who had it, so I didn’t make the mistake again.

The lamb is from the Yorkshire Dales, slow braised with Moroccan spices, a chickpea relish, tzatziki, sweet onion and a (very nicely dressed) side of salad (£6).

Although I thought the meat was somewhat dry for slow braised lamb, the heavily-laden ciabatta was filled with varied, sweet and fulsome flavours that worked together nicely.

My friend had the buttermilk pancakes – a huge stack American-style beauties with maple syrup, a toffee sauce and a sort of apple and cinnamon crumb, with a tart cream and compote (£7.50).

This was incredibly nice, with plenty of different flavours from the sauces. I also got a side of sweet potato fries (nice, but not needed, £2.50), and we had a Bundaberg ginger beer and Fentimans soft drink (£5 for both).

The only real criticism, which is sort of unavoidable in a place this small, is that if it’s busy you’re definitely going to share your conversation with the table next to you.

Otherwise, top drawer.

Rating: ****