Ham & Friends Leeds

We’ve told you  about Friends of Ham, the place in New Station Street with another branch in Ilkley, where they serve terrific boards of ham, cheese and wine and were there before everybody else started doing it. Well, now they have brought us Ham and Friends a food hall,  ‘natural wine bar’ and a restaurant … yes, proper cooking - and we love it.

Tucked away in an attic space at the bottom end of Grand Arcade, it’s very cool in white and grey with splashes of colour coming from the produce filled shelves in the food hall. It’s full of light from the sky-light and the lovely arched window with view onto Vicar Lane and all the unlucky souls not lunching here. At night it’s prettily starlit.

Joel Monkman (son of long-time Yorkshire restaurateur Chris Monkman) is at the stove and while we are rather weary of the small-plates thing, Monkman Jnr cooks with such inventiveness and verve that we wanted to order everything on the menu, which is I suppose the point.

Begin then with a snack of crispy chicken skin with leek remoulade, move onto Whitby crab with ponzu and pickled ginger, continue with cheese dumplings with caramelised cauliflower and hazelnut (there’s a decent choice for vegetarians) or octopus, nduja and chick pea broth. Finish with an upmarket bread and butter pud, or chocolate cherries. Wines, too, are terrific, all natural, biodynamic or organic from a highly original list. We were guided through them by the charming sommelier Marta who volunteered to replace one I wasn’t keen on.

One of the best openings of the year. We intend to be best friends with ham.  

Ham & Friends

Grand Arcade, Leeds LS1 6PG West Yorkshire

Tel 0113 468 3890

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Type: Restaurant

Price guide

3 out of 5

Cuisine type: Modern British

Part of Eat Leeds

Review by Jill, 3 November 2017

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