There are a handful of foods which, maybe fifteen years ago, you would have been forgiven if you’d looked a bit blank if someone askied if you liked them.
Outlandishly exotic to some, things like avocados, quinoa, and other vegan staples are now part of our culinary vocabulary.
None more so than hummus. It has become so popular that supermarkets are now off-loading bafflingly diverse blends with three-for-two offers.
So now, when asked ‘Do you like hummus?’, you don’t have to wait until someone explains that it’s a chickpea-based dip or spread and it’s the best thing ever... because you spoon-ate a full tub last night, thanks.
On the surface then, Humpit in the Corn Exchange shouldn’t really feel too much like a novelty. When it opened in September 2014, the simple concept of combining really nice hummus and pita bread with falafel and a few vegetables, really grabbed the attention of Leeds diners and almost four years on it continues to pull in the crowds.
I gave it a go for the first time this week, following good feedback from friends.
It was busy when myself and a friend arrived - small tables inside and outside filled up a little after lunch time - but we managed to squeeze into a spot near the door.
Customers can choose from three £4.50 dishes. A Hummus Bowl is what it says but with whole chickpeas, parsley, olive oil, paprika and a pita on top. Loaded Pitas are a white or wholemeal flatbread filled with hummus, falafel, carrot, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, pickles and sauces. Salad Bowls are a ‘create-your-own’ type dish of the above ingredients. Extras can be included for various prices too.
My friend went for the Hummus Bowl with a falafel ball and I had the Loaded Pita on wholemeal. I also ordered a rather luminous apple, carrot and ginger ‘juice of the day’ (£2.60) from a menu that also offers mint tea and homemade lemonade. They came promptly from one of the friendly staff members and impressed as soon as we saw them.
The warm pitas were amazingly soft and fluffy, and a good reminder that a humble flatbread made well is a beautiful thing. The Loaded Pita filling was generous and well balanced, neither too dry or soggy, with plenty of fresh, zingy flavours combined... and the wholemeal was not too dry, as can sometimes be the case.
My friend was equally impressed, again mostly by the pita and went back for a second as it was just an extra for 50p. To my eyes there wasn’t a lot on her plate, but she was happily full afterwards.
Never mind the supermarket, get down to THe Humpit.
The Corn Exchange, Leeds