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The Tiled Cafe, Leeds Art Gallery

Simon Binns is drawn to a city beauty

Written by . Published on July 5th 2011.

The Tiled Cafe, Leeds Art Gallery

Food is art, so where better to grab lunch than the City Gallery?

The busy, buzzy café is a mixed bag of suits writing proposals, students soaking up culture and pensioners catching up over a nice cup of tea.


 It’s a light, bright place and a bit of class amid the slightly frantic doorstep surroundings of The Headrow. It’s a fairly straightforward canteen concept, so get in the queue and choose your lunch from a row of soups, salads and sarnies, as well as the pleasingly interesting addition of noodles and antipasti. And plenty of cake too.

It was the equivalent of a Confidential school trip, as I was joined by lead writer and man about town Paul Clarke. He spends lots of time here and in the Henry Moore Institute next door, cultural sponge that he is.

Paul decided on the soup and sandwich combo (£6.50) – a bowl of tomato and goat's cheese and a veggie bean wrap, which were both pleasing but perhaps a bit pricey given the portion sizes.

I was drawn to the hot and sour king prawn salad (£5.95), which had a welcome kick to it but could have done with more than the three prawns I found. A bit heavy on the oil too, but far better than your average public sector canteen is capable of. A couple of slices of bread gave a bit of purchase and were handy for mopping up too.

Img_0909To celebrate such a healthy lunch, we also grabbed a slice of cake each. Paul had a teacake shaped piece of earl grey tea cake (£2.30) and I’d already eyed up the lemon and ginger cake (£2.60) on my way in.

Paul’s pud was dense but tasty. My slice was moist and delicious, separated and topped with buttercream icing with crystalised ginger on top. Really impressive, and probably containing nine times the calories of the prawn salad. Hey ho.

But it’s the surroundings that make this such a delightful lunch venue. It’s a beautiful interior, more so than you’d normally get for a lunch costing around a tenner.

So go, soak up some culture and then take your time over lunch amid the chatter and the chinking of crockery. You’re belly will be full and your soul will feel a little bit better too.

Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant

The Tiled Hall Cafe
The Headrow

Rating: 13/20
Food: 7/10
Service: 2/5 (largely because it's DIY)
Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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YorkieJuly 27th 2011.

OMG, Simon - a couple of those pictures are actually in focus. You'll be getting drummed out of the Confidential team if you carry on like that...

Sunny smiles.

Simon BinnsJuly 27th 2011.

I know. Shocking. I'll be smearing butter on the lens next time.

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