Stan Graham suspends his ‘grumpy old mannery‘ and dines al fresco at Sociable Folk where he samples their menu along with their fantastic service.
Well, here’s a name to live up to – Sociable Folk. Being a Yorkshireman in his mid-sixties I don’t really do sociable but in the interests of Leeds Living and all you wonderful readers – you see, when I try to do sociable it doesn’t work – I suspended my grumpy old mannery and gave it a try. Sociable Folk is situated in Wellington Place on the ground floor of a new building but the interior designers have managed to infuse it with a fair amount of character. That said, the only time I saw the interior was when I ordered my food as it was a sunny day and there is outside seating on long tables with benches. Eventually this will be a good place to soak up the rays but at the moment there is another new monolith being constructed next door which is surrounded by large boards, although it looks as though there will be landscaped grounds when it is finished. Yet more evidence of the rise and rise of Leeds as a city.
From the amazing selection on display I chose a chicken and chorizo wrap with potato salad (£4.00). It was delivered to my table outside with a portion of tortilla chips. I also had my normal glass of house red (£4.50 for 250ml) which was poured straight away and given to me to enjoy whilst awaiting delivery of the edibles. This proved to be torture as I photograph my lunch before tucking in, so I had to resist taking a sip or several, even though the contents of the glass were screaming ‘Drink me! Drink me!’ The second I had taken the photograph I gladly obliged. The wine was delicious but how much was due to the anticipation is difficult to say. Be warned however that a large measure is 250ml so is a third of a bottle.
The wrap arrived warm and crammed with cubes of chorizo and chunks of chicken breast. There were also leaves which looked like spinach to contribute to one of your five a day. The amalgam of flavours was wonderful. I referred to the amazing selection on the menu. It doesn’t look that large but offers many variations; for instance,they do a build your own salad, which has a choice of four bases, seven protein options and five dressings which meaning that, along with their two classic salads, Caesar and noodle, there are 142 ways to keep the calorie count low. There are no puddings as such but there is a selection of small cakes and brownies. I had the shortbread which was topped with caramel and chocolate (0.60p), and an Americano coffee (£2.20).
OK, now back to that name. I am afraid that I cannot go along with it. According to the dictionary ’sociable’ means affable, friendly, cordial and hospitable. None of these words goes anywhere near describing the wonderful attitude of the staff. I was greeted with broad smiles each time I came into contact with them and nothing was too much trouble. When I had ordered my lunch and paid for it I was asked if I wanted a receipt, to which I replied that I did. When I had eaten up I realised that I had only been given the credit card receipt rather than an itemised one. When I pointed this out, the girl who had served me trawled through all the payments on the cash register until she finally came across mine and issued the itemised receipt. The whole of the time that this process took the smile never left her face and she reassured me several times that it was no trouble and she was sorry to keep me waiting. Sociable comes nowhere near this attitude. Just a word of warning to anyone who comes into contact with me in the next week or two: I really need to restore my yin and yang so I will be cranking up my grump quotient by a factor of at least a hundred.
Photography by Stan Graham