the city talking: leeds — issue 36Back
The City Talking
Issue 36 of The City Talking is out in Leeds now, and available free inside Friday’s edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post.
It’s May, and everyone is talking about food. And photographing food. Making food. Stuffing every food emoji they can into 140 characters. And eating food; everyone is doing that too.
May is a sunny month, in theory at least, so we’re also drinking. With and without food. Sometimes just a glass and sometimes four. Wine, beer, cocktails, coffee and those delicious cans of flavoured San Pellegrino, with a glass full of ice and a squeeze of lemon, please.
Of course, May is Leeds Indie Food Festival. Celebrating food and drink with food and drink is the way forward. In Leeds, we’re right there at the edge of the future — clinking glasses and stuffing Dough Boys pizza slices into our mouths and making lists of all the places we want to go and all the food we want to eat.
In this issue of The City Talking, we spoke to some of the people that have made May in 2016 taste so good by spending year after year serving drinks and making food in Leeds. Some of the stories in this issue have been told before; over pints, between friends. A few of them are so familiar, they feel like legends. Almost all of them are about who are, or have been, contributors and participants in Leeds food and drink scene. We’re really happy to share them.
We began this issue by speaking to the landlord of one of Leeds’ favourite locals, to hear what it felt like before it was a local. To find out if there was ever a time when Mojo wasn’t someone’s local.
“The place that became Mojo was an old hairdressers,” says Mal Evans. “I remember attending courts for the license hearing, and John Gyngell was there, watching us to learn what to do for the licence for North Bar.”
We join Mal’s story at the beginning, in 1996, when he opened Mojo’s doors with Roger Needham. Back before Lower Merrion Street was pedestrianised, and back when one of Leeds best bars was one of Leeds best kept secrets.
A year after Mojo opened, North Bar opened. Joss Ainsworth spent his weekends building it. And then he bought the lease on an old speakeasy down the road and called it The Reliance. “It’s a bit of a long story,” says Becs Winlow, co-owner of The Reliance. “This is sixteen years, or more,” adds Joss.
We sat down together around a table in The Reliance’s dining room to hear the long, marvellous story of the benevolent red building on North Street.
Tina Wood is a stocktaker for some of Leeds best bars and restaurants. Her job is to measure, weigh and count: in castles, mills, cellars, hotel rooms. For a while, a strip club in London. Once in Barcelona.
“My niche is the craft beer scene,” she says. We talk to Tina about craft beer, counting and her love of complicated jobs in unusual spaces.
Jeff Barnett loves food and coffee and some of the people that love to make food and coffee. He photographs these people, and people who love other things, and compiles them in his #MeetPeopleMakePortraits series. We met Jeff for breakfast in Sheaf St. Cafeteria to talk about Leeds’ coffee scene, photography and his trip to L.A last year.
At the end of April, we hosted the premiere for our latest feature length film, The City Talking: Tech in Leeds. We were joined by some of the individuals and companies featured in the film, as well as supporters, friends and family. The event was hosted at Dock 29, and photographs were taken by Tom Joy, some of which we’ve included for you to see in this month’s issue. You can also watch the film now, on our website.
We end this month’s issue with The Square Ball, where Moscowhite takes us on a journey back to 1992, when Leeds United players celebrated their wins over pepperoni, tomato sauce and cheese at The Flying Pizza; through to 2000, when The Flying Pizza’s place in Leeds dining scene was challenged by newcomer Teatro, from old fave Lee Chapman.
The City Talking: Leeds issue 36 is free inside the Yorkshire Evening Post tomorrow, and in some of the places you’ll go to eat this month.