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Writing articles for publication is like talking to yourself but through a loudspeaker. In the absence of any feedback you just have to imagine who, if anyone, is reading the stuff you churn out and how you can make it relevant to them. In my case I assume that my readership mainly comprises city centre workers and visitors to our wonderful metropolis. Even within these two categories there is a broad spectrum of people. The heart of Leeds is kept beating by people who do all manner of jobs, from keeping the City clean and tidy to running multinational companies. Similarly the visitors come here for all kinds of reasons; shopping, be it a splurge at Harvey Nicks or getting a new mobile phone cover from the market, culture at the museums and art galleries or just a day out wandering to where fancy takes.
I must admit that I never imagined my typical reader to be someone who is having lunch in a coffee house to kill time before they have the pot removed from their broken wrist. This was the case this week when I visited Union Coffee House in Great George Street. The premises are opposite the old entrance to the Leeds General Infirmary and the lady sitting opposite had called in for that very purpose.
The menu is original and I was sorely tempted to try the Olive and Rye Breakfast from the brunch section as it contained crispy pork belly, home made black pudding, chorizo beans, grilled tomato, free range eggs and sourdough toast but my good post-Christmas intentions prevailed and I opted for the hot venison scotch egg with home made brown sauce and dressed green bean salad at £6.50. My self-control wasn’t total as I augmented the dish with a side of skinny chips for £2.00. A glass of pinot noir lubricated the food at £6.00 (175ml). I love venison; it has a wonderful flavour and has far less fat than other red meat. If you think that I am going to say that the only problem is that it is dear (deer – geddit?) then you would be correct, I never let a bad joke slip by. The lower fat content means that the texture of the mince used to make the scotch egg is denser than it would have been had pork been used and this made it far more interesting. The yolk of the egg was perfectly cooked, being soft but just beyond runny. The taste was excellent as was that of the brown sauce, which came in a small jar. The spices gave the sauce not only a tang but also a rounded finish. I enjoyed it so much that I was given a small ‘doggy tub’ to use on my Sunday morning bacon butty. The salad, as the name would suggest, contained green beans along with chopped spring onions, rocket, red lettuce and lamb’s lettuce. The french dressing was exquisite. I have not enjoyed a lunch so much in a while. Because of the quality of the main course and the tempting appearance of the sweet counter, I threw my good intentions right out of the window and decided to put the one remaining piece of carrot cake out of its misery along with a black coffee at £2.30. The pride in the food and the level of service manifested itself when the waiter brought me the cake. He said that, as it was the last piece, it was a little less fresh than he would have liked it to be so he said that I could choose an alternative or have the carrot cake on the house. In the interest of the coffers of Leeds Living I opted for the latter, hence no price is shown in the review as there was nothing on the bill. If this is a cake approaching its sell by date it must have been amazing on the day it was baked. It was only a smidgeon on the dry side but still as good, if not better than I have had in other establishments when fresh. All in all this is a brilliant place to have lunch. I now know another great place to eat but in the interest of my readers I am compelled to try somewhere else next time. I will console myself in the knowledge that, had I revisited a past favourite, I would not have found this new one.
Article first published by Leeds Living on 9th February, 2017