Masterchef star to open first ever pub in Leeds's Kirkgate Market

A pub is to open inside the walls of Leeds's Kirkgate Market for the first time in its 150 year history.

Russel and Liz
Russel and Liz

The new gastropub The Owl will open in historic Kirkgate Market’s Fish & Game Row.

It is being opened by fine dining stars Liz Cottam and Mark Owens who run the popular HOME restaurant in the city.

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Ms Cottam found fame after her appearanceon Masterchef in 2016 while Mr Owens has worked at the 2 Michelin star Le Gavroche in London and The Star at Michelin Star restaurant Harome in North Yorkshire.

Kirkgate Market

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Ms Cottam said: “I love working with Northern Monk; my team and theirs share a genuine commitment to doing things right, and we all love creating cool stuff.

"I’ve always been drawn to owning a pub (having grown up in them), but wanted to do it differently. The opportunity at Kirkgate Market, together with the NM collaboration, just makes so much sense to me. I know people want to support the market and local businesses, and I hope that more businesses will follow us into this great space.”

It will also partner with popular Leeds brewery Northern Monk, who have produced a new beer especially for the pub.

Russell and Liz Cottam

“Wisdom” will sit alongside five other beer lines, which will be complemented by a number of fine wines - available on tap.

The Owl’s food menu will revolve around simply but expertly-cooked whole roast fish and game, prepared by Liz and Mark.

Inspired by the time she spent living in Barcelona (the home of Estrella Damm, Liz’s sponsor, which will also be stocked behind the bar), Liz has created a grill-based, beer-friendly snack menu too, to complement the main dining room menu - think wild boar and bone marrow sausages served on toasted brioche buns, with melted cheese and house pickles.

Russell Bissett - Northern Monk

Liz pairs all of the dishes with wines at her fine dining restaurant HOME - and she will offer special beer pairings at The Owl, using Northern Monk brews.

Russell Bisset, Founder of Northern Monk said: “At Northern Monk, we’re determined to create some of the best beer experiences in the world. That ambition has been our driving force since we were based in a cellar, back in 2013.

"A lot has changed for the brewery - but that same drive remains. When we were approached by Liz and the team at HOME, and presented with the chance of working with a team with the same ambitions for food experiences, it was something we jumped at. Pair that with delivering those food and beer experiences in the largest covered market in Europe - a building steeped in local history and heritage and one of the North’s great treasures - and we knew we were on to something special.”

The Owl is the first of four market venues Liz and Mark plan to open over the next few months.