Farsley in the late 1970s when I lived there was hardly the most alluring suburb of the City, possibly because I lived there.
It had all of the disadvantages of a village, i.e. shops which closed at lunchtime on Saturday and no nightlife except for a couple of pubs, a decent chippy and a Chinese take-away. It was losing its identity as the conurbations of Leeds and Bradford were expanding, thus absorbing small communities such as this and turning them into commuter belt. Most buses missed the place out altogether by using the B6157 Stanningley Road extension or Rodley Lane. The only way you could visit the village was if you made a special journey, but few did.
How times change! Farsley has become cool. There are several wine bars, restaurants of various origins and delis, but the decent pubs and shops have been retained, although sadly not the chippy. Even the Leeds – Halifax bus route has diverted to take in the views. Sunny Bank Mills has had a great deal of money spent on it and been turned into work units for small businesses, an art gallery, studios and the place I had made a not so sentimental journey to see, Mill Kitchen.
I review eateries of all sorts in most parts of Leeds, and I must say that this ranks amongst the best. It is not fine dining and it does not have the most expansive menu, but what it does it does well. The lunch menu consists of the daily savoury bake, and three salads. There is a larger choice for breakfast/brunch as well as a range of sandwiches and a soup. I was here to sample lunch so I had the daily bake which on the day was Feta and Tomato Fritatta. It costs £7.75 and comes with three portions of the salads on display which also vary depending on the ingredients available. A large portion of salad for a main course is £6.75. The choice of the day was between Kale, apple, hazelnut and feta, Fennel, orange and goat’s cheese; and Pattypan squash, quinoa and seeds. I ordered a black Americano (£2.20) to drink as it was a tad early to hit the booze, although there is a good selection of craft ale and wine should you be so inclined.
A lovely touch was the acknowledgement of the building’s wool processing heritage by giving diners a large wooden bobbin with a number attached as identification for the waiting staff when serving your dish. It was a Saturday and the inside of the deli was full of brunchers and families so I decided to brave the wind and sit outside. When the food arrived it was just as spectacular as the building. It was delivered to my table as I had been asked on ordering whether I would prefer the frittata hot or cold, a nice touch, and as I opted for the former, it took a little time to heat.
The portion size was of Yorkshire proportions with the plate full of goodies. The frittata was wonderfully light, even though it was a thick piece, and the salads inventive and complimentary. There was enough of each to experiment with the flavours by mixing them up a bit. I enjoyed every mouthful. I gave dessert a miss as the cloud cover increased and I didn’t fancy a soggy bun, or bum. I must, once again, praise the service, which was excellent and very friendly.
Should you not wish to have anything to eat there is a deli counter selling produce as well as Leeds Bread Cooperative loaves, not to mention the craft beers and wine. I told you not to mention the craft beers and wine – sorry.
If you find yourself in this now trendy suburb then you could do worse than call here for sustenance. There most certainly is no trouble at t’mill.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.