I recently spent a cold Sunday afternoon wandering around the Reetsweet Craft Fair and the vintage pop up fair in the Corn Exchange. The craft fair was pretty busy and it was nice to see independent crafty people getting the chance to flog their wares. The vintage pop up on the top level of the building was also full of people- all stuff was reasonably priced and there was a massive variety of vintage goodies, from clothes to shoes to accessories to old books etc. I didn't live in Leeds when the Corn Exchange was a mecca for all things independent and quirky; I've only known it as Anthony's Piazza and it was great to see it looking full and with quite a few people wandering around. Others have told me that it is nowhere near as good as it used to be, but compared to a couple of years ago, the place is positively heaving!
After all the browsing and a rather nice espresso from the little coffee stand there,we were pretty hungry and decided to wander over to the West End of town for food. We rarely venture up that way, apart from when we visit the great little bar that is Baby Jupiter and we discovered that Toast was open and serving food. The bar itself is modern looking inside with leather seats and massive TV screens showing the football- it was fairly quiet but I'd imagine it gets busier on weekday evenings when the office workers nearby drop in for post-work drinks.
The menu is fairly standard- a selection of sandwiches, breakfasts, a Sunday roast, burgers and various meat and fish dishes. They also offer a "build your own platter" deal where you choose 4, 6 or 8 items from a deli-inspired selection (cured meats, cheese, olives etc) which I was tempted by, but unfortunately they don't do this deal on a Sunday.
So D and I both chose sandwiches. I went for the chicken, houmous, cheese and sweet chilli sandwich on granary bread (mainly because I was intrigued by the combination of cheese and houmous) The menu has changed slightly on their website from when I went, but I seem to remember the sandwich having a name including either Leeds or Yorkshire- considering Yorkshire folk have a tendency to put cheese on strange things (christmas cake??) I'd imagine that was the reason behind the combination!
Anyway my sandwich was really really good. Massive big thick slices of granary bread, with tender chunks of chicken and tons of melted cheese. I couldn't really pick up on the flavour of the houmous though- I think it could have done with being a bit more thickly spread. The sweet chilli, chicken and cheese worked really well together though, and would have been a delicious sandwich on its own; considering the houmous was fairly unnoticeable and I kind of wondered what the point of it was!
D chose the man's option- steak, caramelised onion, mustard and rocket. He asked for the steak medium, and it came that way, and like mine, the portion was beautifully generous- thick slices of steak, a good pile of caramelised onions and huge doorstep slices of bread. The flavours of the chargrilled steak, sweet onion and tangy mustard complemented each other really well, and D wolfed it all down before I was even half way through mine- a sure sign that he was loving it!
Our sandwiches at Toast were a perfect break from the cold weather- filling (no side order of chips needed, and no space for a pudding!) satisfying and very tasty. The atmosphere in the bar was perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon- relaxed and fairly quiet, and the service was excellent- friendly and attentive. Our food was washed down with a gin and tonic for me and a bottle of beer for me- Toast have a wide range of continental beers, and a cocktail menu as well. Although my G&T came in one of those silly short glasses- my biggest hate in bars is being given a small glass; I like to make my drinks last (plus when wandering around with a small glass I inevitably end up spilling a bit) Note to bartenders- tall glasses for this blogger please! (and yes I'm one of those annoying customers who always waits until the drink is poured and then asks for a taller glass)
I love discovering new places to eat and drink in Leeds- although I have my tried and tested favourites, it's always nice to have a bit of a change. So if anyone reading this knows of any new and interesting places for a Sunday afternoon pit stop, do comment below, and you never know, I might review it :)