Leeds hipster venue will feed the suburbs

RIGHT MIX: Luke Downing, Laura MacLeod and Jonathan Hawthorne.
RIGHT MIX: Luke Downing, Laura MacLeod and Jonathan Hawthorne.
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Two of the most talked about chefs in the city are cooking up a new venture which will take them out of the “saturated city centre” food scene to create something that has not been done before in Leeds.

Luke Downing, owner of fine dining restaurant Vice and Virtue and winner of three categories at the 2018 Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Awards, is opening a hipster cafe bar in Pudsey which will be fronted by one of the city’s upcoming and most controversial chefs, Jonathan Hawthorne.

The vibe is going to be New York (influenced by a recent visit by Downing and partner Laura MacLeod), “out there” and pushing the boundaries of what is being done within the current Leeds food and drink scene.

Downing said: “This will be the kind of place that we would seek out to go to. The Leeds scene is saturated and you have to by dynamic. If you don’t stay ahead of what is going on you will get left behind.”

Feed, is set to open in mid August in Richardshaw Lane and will be grungy, edgy, urban yet chilled.

Think exposed brick, lots of salvaged gems from the building’s former life as an 80s French bistro, neon lights, chip board and graffiti.

Specialities will be coffee (add tumeric not sugar), beers, cocktails and food where there is no boundary and no genre and that is where Hawthorne comes in.

He has been a big deal on underground food scene with the XO Supper Clubs doing pop-ups in dive bars like Oporto after a grounding in world-class restaurants such as Noma in Denmark, Quay in Sydney and Leeds’ very own Michelin Star restaurant, Man Behind The Curtain.

Downing says he was blown away by the food he had at one of Hawthorne’s supper clubs and predicts a Michelin star for the “rough diamond” of a chef.

He added: “His view and outlook on food is where the whole industry is going and it would not surprise me if he got a Michelin star for the food he is doing and for the environment because it is influential and nothing like what is being done anywhere.

“When people catch up and see what is going on they will see that this is the direction it is going - away from fine dining experiences. This is just about the food and how it is.

“There are people that do things properly or differently and have their own way of thinking. But the way he thinks is so simple but so out there - it is an oxymoron and the two things don’t make sense.”

The duo say Feed will bring something totally new to west Leeds and perhaps signals the start of a shift in movement of the food and drink movement to the suburbs already seen by Aperitivo by Downing and MacLeod in West Park, Pinche Pinche in Chapel Allerton and The Cat’s Pyjamas in Headingley.

Hawthorne added: “It’s a fantastic opportunity. I’m really excited to have a permanent home I can call my own and put my own stamp on Pudsey and showcase some amazing produce and food that I feel they deserve .

“I’m always on the lookout for like minded people that share the same passion I have for food to work alongside and Leeds and Yorkshire has some of the most passionate people within the hospitality industry, so for me it was a no brainer to come on board and work alongside Luke and Laura.”