I have been very fortunate in my life not to have become addicted to anything, except perhaps nicotine in my teens and twenties, but now, in my twilight years, I find that I cannot live without my daily fix of malted sourdough as baked by those wonderful people at Leeds Bread Co-operative. In order to prevent the delirium tremens a sudden withdrawal would trigger, I make regular trips into Leeds to get my fix. One of the ‘pushers’ I use is the Tall Boys Beer Market, who keep a supply hidden in plain sight in the window. You have to be early though as we sad souls make a beeline there to satisfy our cravings and those who arrive too late have to scour the other dealers for our needs. Luckily we do not need to trawl the dark web in order to get our hit, as there is a list of stockists on the co-op’s website. As it happens I was fortunate enough to buy the last remaining Malthouse Sourdough on Friday so my weekend was made a more attractive proposition.
In the window of the Tall Boys Beer Market is also a selection of sandwiches, so I decided that this is where I would return to have lunch. I asked the woman who served me with the bread if there was anything other than sandwiches on the menu and she said that there was soup and stew. As it was a nippy day I decided that the stew would be just the thing. Both the soup and stew change on a daily basis so, should you call, the choice (of one) may be different. I have always liked the idea of a rotating menu as you know that they are not just banging out the same old thing day after day, but giving it some thought. The idea is that you order your food and drink in the shop and then go up to the eating area with the latter. The food is then delivered to your table when it is ready.
I decided that my companion for the wait would be a half pint of Firestone Walker DBA, a 5% craft beer from the tap behind the counter at £2.50. There are 5 taps from which the ale is sold in half or third pints, 750ml or 1.8l. As you would gather from the name of the establishment, there is an extensive range of bottled and canned beers along with other drinks and coffee. The Firestone was very palatable and a pale, refreshing brew. The stew I ordered was lentil ,which was well seasoned, so the beer was a perfect accompaniment. Along with the lentils were squash and sprouts which gave a variation of texture and taste. The seasoning was mainly cumin and the whole thing was delicious and great value at £5. The best part though was that it came with not one, but two slices of Leeds Bread Co-operative Malthouse Sourdough drizzled with olive oil. Just how good can a day get?
I really love the informality of this place and, as the eating room is upstairs, there is a bird’s eye view of Thorntons Arcade in which the premises are situated, but whether you are eating in or taking away this is one for your list. I must go now as I have a craving to bang a slice in the toaster to calm me down a tad.
Photography by Stan Graham