Last month, Leeds’ trendy canalside hub of contemporary bars and indie restaurants welcomed a newcomer. SALT, which is part of the Ossett Brewery and SALT Beer Factory company, opened its second Leeds venue after an impressive refurbishment of the former Craft Asylum venue at Granary Wharf.
SALT has achieved great success with SALT Craft + Cocktails on East Parade and it is now one of Leeds’ most popular venues for craft beer enthusiasts and cocktail lovers.
SALT’s brand new opening at Granary Wharf is a collaboration with Leeds street food icons, Falafel Guys. Similar in concept to SALT Craft + Pizza in London and SALT Craft + Bao in Sheffield, it brings their perfect pairing of locally crafted ales and authentic street food to the people of Leeds.
Owned by brothers Abdalla and Ahmed Gouda, their healthy Middle Eastern street food offering is immensely popular with Leeds residents, who frequent their bright red van on Briggate to order their now legendary, family recipe Falafel. These golden chunks of vegan-friendly deliciousness are available in mammoth-sized wraps or salads bowls with a generous helping of hummus.
Our Experience at SALT Granary Wharf
Last week, we were invited to check out SALT Granary Wharf and sample some of the amazing food from Falafel Guys.
The venue itself is much like all the other SALT venues in ambience with its trendy interiors, chilled vibes and uber-stylish neon signs. We visited last Thursday, during yet another torrential downpour so the dimly lit and well-heated venue was a pleasure to enter once we had fought our way through the wind to reach it.
After making our presence known to the bar staff, we were advised of the ordering process – drinks from the bar and food from the Falafel Guys counter to the rear of the dining area.
SALT Cocktails on Tap
Both thirsty for cocktails and a bit of a pick-me-up, we ordered Salted Caramel Espresso Martinis (£7). Cocktails at SALT come from the tap so we were a bit dubious about their quality. We really needn’t have been as they were just as good as they would have been if they’d have been hand-poured. Smooth with a fabulously frothy head, our Espresso Martinis were delicious. Sometimes, the intensity of the coffee in an Espresso Martini can bit a little overpowering but this was beautifully balanced out by the undertones of salted caramel.
The Falafel Guys counter at SALT Granary Wharf is a vibrant display of fresh veggies and colourful hummus – all laid out to enable you to choose exactly which ingredients you want in your wrap or salad bowl. My husband is a bit of a stickler when it comes to ordering food and rarely deviates from steaks, burgers, roasts and good old fish & chips. We’re worlds apart in that sense so when it came to ordering food, I took the reigns.
For my other half, I ordered the Special Donner Wrap without hummus and a side of Chicken Wings. I chose the Chicken Shawarma and Falafel wrap for myself, with a side of Halloumi Fries. Rather than choosing specific salad options and pondering over which hummus to request, I asked them to create mine using whichever additional ingredients they thought would pair best with the chicken and falafel.
Seated by the window on a candlelit table with leather upholstered benches, we sipped our Espresso Martinis and lapped up the chilled vibes. We did have quite a wait for our food to arrive, which seemed unusual with it being street food but it wasn’t long enough to warrant dissatisfaction.
Flavours from Falafel Guys
When our food arrived, the server was genuinely apologetic for our wait and, clearly a tad flustered, accidentally knocked over one of our cocktails. Within seconds, this had been spotted by another member of staff. The mess was cleared and the drink was replaced astonishingly quickly so no harm was done whatsoever. My only concern was for the server who must have felt terribly awkward having to apologise for a second time.
Our containers of food were taken from the server’s red tray and placed upon our table for us to devour. In addition to our wraps and sides, we were also given a selection of nibbles to complement our mains – pickled turnip, pickled jalapenos and some olives.
We were blown away by the sheer quantity of food presented to us. Such good value for money at just £24.95 for 2 wraps and 2 sides. They were certainly not stingy with the side dish portions and our enormous wraps were both jam-packed with ingredients.
Both the sides were absolutely divine! The wings were coated in a tasty sauce but they hadn’t lost their crispness – a big hit with the husband! My halloumi fries were just as they should be – crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Drizzled with just the right amount of sauce to stop them tasting too dry as they cooled, they were a delight to eat.
Now, to the wraps. WOW! Mine was so full of ingredients that each mouthful tasted slightly different. There were not one, but THREE types of hummus inside – traditional, beetroot and charcoal. Each hummus was a perfect consistency and went perfectly with the seasoned chicken and spiced falafel. So many beautiful flavours lovingly enveloped in one wonderfully soft flatbread!
My husband, who is a big fan of doner kebabs (even before a pint) was impressed by the amount of meat they’d managed to pack into his wrap and the quality of it was vastly superior to anything we can get locally. Full of flavoursome without a trace of grease, he thoroughly enjoyed it and was still talking about it the following day.
Once we had accepted defeat and pushed our leftovers to one side, we ordered a second drink. This time, my husband ordered a cider and I opted for the cocktail I have been hearing so many great things about – the Strawberry and Rhubarb Cosmo. I thought that this fruity little number would be the perfect way to end a savoury feast and by jolly it was! I am rather partial to a cocktail or two (or five!) but I don’t like anything overly sweet. This was just right – the sweetness of strawberry and the sourness of rhubarb combined to provide a tasty and thirst-quenching finish to our first Falafel Guys experience.
All in all, we had a brilliant experience at SALT Granary Wharf. Inviting interiors, attentive staff, HUGE portions of flavoursome food and good quality cocktails on tap – what’s not to like? This is definitely a place I’ll want to visit again. After a long day in the office or a tiring day of shopping, SALT offers everything you will need to relax and recuperate. A great collaboration and an excellent addition to the Leeds food & drink scene.