The Tetley Bar and Kitchen, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ – Visit Now
Sitting south of the River Aire, a few minutes’ walk from Bridge End, The Tetley is a contemporary cultural centre built on what was once the Tetley brewery. Instead of brewing cheap beer for amateur drinkers, it now specialises in offering space for a different kind of artist, and is a hub for people wanting to exhibit, learn or just chinwag about the arts (it’s very much a Leeds counterpart to Manchester’s HOME). It also has a bar and kitchen area, so people can have a bite to eat and a drink.
Like many places, it’s been closed a lot since the planet turned upside down last March, so The Tetley used this time for a refurb. The décor is a mixture of basic wood tables and chairs (fine for a quick lunchtime drink or snack) and leather suites (for longer, more relaxing afternoon drinking sessions). There’s also a new project called The Café Commission, wherein they’ll be commissioning local artists to contribute their masterpieces. They’ve kicked this off with Herfa Thompson’s Synapses Under A Vast Sky. I am no art critic – saying it’s colourful and bright is the best I can offer.
The Tetley’s main space is a hub for people wanting to exhibit, learn or just chinwag about the arts
It’s a space filled with natural light that pours in from the front terrace, which is freshly decked and sanded. They’ve also brought in a new head chef, Connaire Moran, who made a name for himself at a spell at Kirkgate Market’s The Owl. He’s a big fan of locally grown sustainable ingredients, which is always pleasing.
There are two menus, one for Sunday lunches and the other a summer-tinted lunch/brunch selection. We’re here to try the summer scran, a nice mixture of light meat and vegan dishes around the £8 to £10 mark. For the main, I order the stone bass fillet that comes with lightly roasted cauliflower, elderflower and grapefruit. It’s light and crispy, the stone bass perfectly cooked. Unless you’re on a low-calorie diet, a side is essential so I order some chips. These turn out to be Parmentier potatoes – they’re beautifully salted with fennel and covered in handsome dollops of a light green aioli. My guest orders the fried chicken, which unusually comes on a single sweetcorn waffle with ale syrup and fermented chilli. As a pescatarian I’m unable to try the chicken, I take his word for it when he remarks “It’s well seasoned, moderately spicy, and the sweetcorn waffle was a minor revelation.”
For dessert we go for Affogato, a small blob of ice cream in a glass served with a shot of espresso. It’s orgasmic in flavour, the ice cream offering much-needed refreshment in a summer heatwave. Don’t expect to leave rubbing your belly from gluttony; quality over quantity is very much the essence, and it being summer when appetites are strangled – that works just fine.
“The sweetcorn waffle was a minor revelation”
It also has a well-stocked bar of lagers, wines and spirits. There’s enough booze here to fuel Bezos’s New Shepard rocket into the sun – ideally with him flying it – with enough left over for mankind to raise a toast to his newfound 5,500C temperature. They’ve also launched a Friday social, the one night a week it’s open late (10pm) with local DJs rattling out tunes for those wanting a session and dance after work. Check the website for the full menu and prices.