Leeds Christmas Market won’t be going ahead this year but one of Leeds’ social hotspots has come to the rescue!
Green Room only opened back in May but it now boasts a reputation for being one of the best hangouts in the city centre. The rooftop terrace proved to be quite a suntrap during the summer month and thus, attracted countless visitors who spent many a sunny afternoon sipping their way through a vibrant cocktail menu. The food, provided by Gron Cafe, was a seasonal mishmash of vegan and non-vegan brunches and light bites, perfect for tucking into whilst catching up with friends.
Now, the roof terrace at Green Room has undergone quite a transformation to take it into the new season. The basic layout and wooden benches remain but they’ve taken their Scandinavian styling up a notch by turning their contemporary terrace into a cosy winter garden. It’s now fully covered to protect drinkers and diners from the bitter Yorkshire wind and regular precipitation plus they’ve provided cold weather essentials like heaters and fluffy blankets.
The menu at Green Room has also changed for the new season and I was invited over last week to check it out. The last time I visited Green Room, it was a different day entirely. The sun was blazing on the wooden terrace and the venue was scattered with diners, happily munching their way through stacks of fluffy vegan pancakes and perfectly presented French Toast.
This time, I visited on a chilly October evening and was greeted by glowing lanterns, and a small yet merry selection of fellow visitors drinking Mulled Wine and steins of beer. The ambience was entirely different. They’ve done a superb job at creating a more festive atmosphere; one which is indeed similar to what you’d expect at a Christmas market, albeit a tad quieter.
As mentioned, Mulled Wine is available in Green Room’s Winter Garden but there are a number of other drinks on offer which will help you see in the festive season. Various beers from Kirkstall Brewery, Magic Rock Brewery and Northern Monk Brewery sit alongside a range of delicious cocktails and boozy hot chocolates on the Winter Garden drinks menu.
We loved the cocktails during our last visit so we were eager to see what creative concoctions they’ve come up with for the holiday season. We weren’t disappointed!
There are six classic cocktails on the menu in addition to four brand-new seasonal specials. Each sounds absolutely delicious but after much deliberation, I ordered the Cherry Bakewell Mai Tai comprising Bacardi White, Cherry Liquor, Lemon Juice and Almond Syrup. Cherry and Almond are two of my all-time favourite flavours and this cocktail delivered them perfectly. The Morello cherries which garnished the drink were a tasty surprise too.
Mr Wilson-Barrett ordered precisely what I expected him to order – the creamiest and most calorific cocktail on the menu! Made with Kahula, Mint, Baileys and Milk (or a milk substitute if requested), it was super sweet and ever-so-indulgent. It suited his palette perfectly but I’m not sure I could have had more than a few sips as it was a tad on the rich side for me. I would choose something like that in place of a dessert rather than to accompany a savoury dish.
Served daily from 3 pm until 8 pm, the food menu for Green Room’s Winter Garden features four vegan and four non-vegan dishes which are pretty synonymous with Christmas markets. It’s a simple menu of festive street food favourites, designed to suit the casual and social environment they have successfully created. On it, you’ll find nothing besides Bratwurst, burgers and fries but these are the winter warmers that most of us would head straight for at a festive market and they are perfect for soaking up the booze.
I ordered the Bratwurst Hotdog (£8), my husband ordered the Buffalo Chicken Burger (£8) and we requested a portion of Loaded Cheese & Bacon Fries (£6) to share between us.
Now, I didn’t think our wait for food was notably long. It was probably around twenty minutes or so but Mr Wilson-Barrett hadn’t eaten for “hours” and began to get a little restless (sulky). When it did arrive though, it was piping hot and had evidently been cooked fresh.
Thankfully, his arrived first. Served in a charcoal brioche bun, the Buffalo Chicken Burger looked really tasty. The unmistakable lava-coloured Buffalo sauce dripped seductively down the sides of a crispy chicken fillet that was topped with an ample amount of fresh salad. The sauce really packed a punch making the burger a great winter warmer! The last Buffalo Chicken Burger we tried was at a well-regarded burger restaurant and it didn’t really differ in quality from that one.
My Bratwurst was topped with sauerkraut, mustard, crispy onions and pickles. Normally, you would get ketchup also but as I am tomato intolerant, we requested mine without. The Bratwurst itself had a lovely bite to it and it was beautifully seasoned and succulent inside. As one would expect, the toppings complemented it perfectly. It would have been spot-on had the brioche bun not been burnt on one side. I’ve been trying to avoid bread for some time so it wasn’t an issue on this occasion. Had I intended to eat the bun too, I would have mentioned it to the staff and I have no doubt that they would have rectified the issue without hesitation.
The Loaded Fries didn’t last particularly long. Topped with cheese, crispy bacon bits and little morsels of spring onion they were really quite tasty. I can see these being a huge hit, particularly with beer drinkers.
We didn’t hang around for very long after our food had been consumed. Being a Tuesday evening and having a child to get back to meant we had to catch a train back to Skipton. I could, however, have quite happily stayed an hour or so more to soak up those festive feels and sink one or two more of the Cherry Bakewell Mai Tais.
All in all, Green Room has done a great job at transforming its summer hotspot into a cosy winter garden so I do recommend dropping in to check it out for yourself. The food is tasty, the atmosphere is wonderfully chilled and the new cocktail menu is definitely a winner!