My name is Stan Graham and I write a column called ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ for Leeds Living online magazine. Over the months and years there have been many reviews published and, although some have been on the site for quite some time, they are still valid critiques of the establishments visited. Because of this I decided to create my own website to act as a guide for those of you who are visiting Leeds as tourists or commuters, neither of whom have the luxury of time to waste on eating at substandard places. I love my city and would like you to enjoy your time here too.
Kardomah. By kind permission of Leeds Library and Information Services, http://www.leodis.net subject to broadcaster agreement.
My father was a salesman and usually worked on a commission only basis which meant that some weeks we did not have a penny coming into the house but if he had had a good week we would be rolling in it and the first preference for spending his ill gotten gains was by having a meal out. The first ‘proper’ meal I remember was at the long gone Carousel in New Briggate opposite the Grand Arcade. I had a Spanish Omelette because I did not know what it was but couldn’t be bad if it was made with eggs. It is one of those dishes you never see nowadays along with Chicken Maryland and Carpetbagger Steak but was basically a normal omelette with a combination of fillings but containing a lot of peas! In the 1950s very few people had ever been to Spain so no one knew any better. You may think it odd for a young kid to order something unknown but I was brought up to be adventurous because you never know what you are missing. I don’t think that even my dad could have envisaged my eating reindeer in Finland, six-month-old shark in Iceland, beaver in Lithuania – behave! – or bull’s testicles in Latvia.
About The Entries
Anyway, it is the present we are interested in and, as Leeds is at the cutting edge of gastronomic excellence, what better place to dine. Wherever possible I have limited my reviews to independents because we all know what to expect from KFC, occasionally though, because I choose my venues on a whim, the odd national chain has inadvertently been visited. Sorry. Although most of my reviews are concentrated in the city centre I have also included the odd out of town establishment which I was ‘advised’ to try by my editor. I have attempted to cover as many different types of dining experiences as I could with everything from greasy spoons to hipster cocktail lounges. Because some of the reviews on the website were done some time ago – the relevant dates are shown – prices and menus will have changed so I have included web addresses wherever possible so you can check before you visit, the ambiance and philosophy of the places should still be the same though. I have also made frequent visits to make sure that they are still trading but if you come across one which I have missed please let me know.
About The Website
The thing which makes my site unique is that all of the reviews are done by me and all at lunchtime so there is no variation in the taste of the reviewer. This means that if you agree with one of the reviews you have read you are likely to agree with the others. If you don’t agree with the review of the first place you visit then have a look at TripAdvisor for your next one. If there is a special lunch offer I eat from that. I also try to make my reviews readable and somewhat amusing and informative rather than a bland list of the dishes I had. I am reliably informed that if you don’t visit any of the places I have written about the site can be an effective cure for insomnia.
All of my articles included here are done anonymously so I am treated like any other customer. I hope to accept advertising to try to recoup some of my expenses but will only take restaurant adverts from places I have visited so know what they are like and I won’t take adverts from places to which I have given a bad review as, again, I don’t want you to be attracted to somewhere I wouldn’t go myself. My original Let’s Do Lunch articles did not have a star (or asterisk) system but I have worked out a scoring method here to save you having to plough through lots of fairly long articles. The restaurants are divided into categories and are scored against the same type as I can’t compare a pizza joint with a tapas bar. Service and value for money are taken into account as well as the food itself.
You will find that I have enjoyed most of my lunches out. This is not because I am sycophantic but because I get to choose the places I review and I am not going to put myself through the ordeal of a bad lunch even though I do get a perverse kick out of writing a stinker, the jokes are usually better too, but life’s too short for a bad lunch.