I must begin with a confession. This review wasn’t done at lunchtime. There, I’ve said it. I was going to the theatre so I thought that I would kill two birds with one stone and write a restaurant review whilst in the City. This meant that I needed to look for somewhere suitable for midday but which didn’t have a dedicated lunch menu. I had several options in mind but none was open so I had to wing it.
As it was the Grand Theatre I was visiting and it was a cold, rainy night I decided to lurk locally. I have done most of the places in the Grand Arcade and the eateries on Upper Briggate tend to be kebab houses so I was at a bit of a loss. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across San Co.co on the aforementioned thoroughfare, which has a notice outside saying that everything, including the bread, is made on the premises. I had to give this enterprise a chance so I went inside.
The menu is fairly limited but seems to have all bases covered with breakfasts, a burger, a salad, a pasta and a soup. I wanted something warming but not too filling as I didn’t fancy being uncomfortable in a theatre seat for the rest of the evening, so I opted for the Lentil Soup with Focaccia. It was £3.49 plus a 50p surcharge to eat in.
The soup arrived piping hot and the home-baked focaccia was warm. As can be deduced from the price, the emphasis seems to be on take-away service and this was evident when the soup arrived in a cardboard bowl. I have been known to go on about portion size but for soup this was a generous helping. I opted to defer having a beverage as I had seen the cake counter and thought that a coffee would be better taken with a piece of something sweet. I took a spoonful of the soup and was transported to a different world; it was absolutely amazing. It was creamy and almost thick enough to stand the spoon up in. The lentils tasted a bit like peas, very flavoursome in themselves, but it was the seasoning which made the whole thing come together. Pepper had been added in a quantity large enough to give the soup a real kick but not enough to overdo the effect. I have to say that it is the best soup I have tasted in many a year. If the soup was good then the bread was darned near perfect. As already mentioned, it was served warm and given a drizzle of oil, but was light as a feather and melted in the mouth. A triumph.
When I returned to the counter for dessert I chose a piece of Carrot and Walnut Cake at £1.99 with my usual black Americano, a snip at £1.60. Like the bread the cake was light and moist. I was wondering at one stage whether Mary Berry was working in the kitchen, although even she would have been struggling to come up with something this good.
I cannot recommend this establishment highly enough as it is large enough to be able to produce its own food but small enough for the staff to care about the customers. It was easy to tell that the main ingredient in everything was love.
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.