Pub Of The Week: Friends of Ham, Leeds
Not a pub, not a restaurant, not a café, Friends of Ham defies easy definition.
They call it a “bar + charcuterie” and it trades on a highly individual beer and wine selection and a variety of cold platters, centred on Spanish and Italian meats and fine cheeses. It works and, in Twitterspeak, it’s trending.
While New Station Street is not immediately glamorous, downstairs is perfect for an extended retreat from the city centre bustle: soft lighting, comfy chairs and sofas, a rough wood communal table, books, games, daily papers and a shuffleboard. Nothing feels crammed. The crowd is mainly, but not entirely, young professional “city living” types.
Order upstairs from a changing rota of four or five craft beers on tap and 104 bottled beers from all over: pale ales from Mary Jane Pale Ale from Ilkley, Brewdog from Scotland plus French and Belgium beers, stouts and porters, Trappist beers, lagers, cider and perry and a dozen wines by the bottle or the glass. If you can’t decide, they have tasting trays of six beer samples.
Despite having no kitchen – just the corner of the bar for slicing and preparing – they send out terrific plates of ham, salami, cured beef and cheese all with bread, chutney, olives and cornichons. Ibérico Bellota is the top of the range (and at £17.50 top of the price list) acorn-fed ham from south west Spain. Easier on the pocket is proscuitto, chorizo, salami, lardo and Salata Malenca a cured beef from Lombardy between £5-£6.
Friends of Ham is the creation of Anthony and Claire Kitching, who were inspired by the food stalls of Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey. I’d guess they’ve been to a few Spanish bars with hams hanging from the ceiling, too. At any rate it’s fast making friends of its own.
Friends of Ham, 4 New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 5DL. 0113 242 0275, www.friendsofham.com. Open: Mon-Wed 12pm-11pm, Thur-Sat 12pm-12pm, Sun 1pm-10pm.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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