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An Interview with Ham & Friends Leeds Ahead of their Highly Anticipated Restaurant Launch

Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade – Leeds Best Bars – Leeds Best Restaurants – 

An Interview with Ham & Friends Leeds Ahead of their Highly Anticipated Restaurant Launch

For those of you who don’t know, Friends of Ham are the experts of all things meat, cheese, craft beer and wine in Leeds and Ilkley. After their successful Christmas pop-up, their third venue Ham & Friends Leeds opened at the end of April. Located in the historic Grand Arcade, Ham and Friends is a new wine bar, food hall and restaurant, which also features cheesemongers George & Joseph and is the new home to Yorkshire Wine School. Ahead of their kitchen opening on Tuesday 30th May we got the low down from the owners and ‘friends’ as to what we can expect from such a unique new place for Leeds.
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
What’s the best way to describe Ham and Friends?
It’s a wine bar, kitchen, wine shop and food hall.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We source them from all over – local farms for our fresh meat and fresh fruit and veg and British small independent producers for our retail products. Also, a couple small UK distributors who import in from abroad our wines (such as Caves de Pyrene), Italian and Spanish charcuteries (such as Brindisa), French cheeses, etc.
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
Are there any places that inspired Friends of Ham / Ham and Friends?
Friends of Ham was very much inspired by a visit to craft beer bars in the USA and the original location of The Kernel Brewery beside our Italian charcuterie supplier Ham & Cheese Co. Ham and Friends has just evolved from that rather than being inspired by a specific location.
What can guests expect old and new when they pay a visit to Ham and Friends?
The same high quality and provenance as Friends of Ham with the products we sell, along with the same high standards of service, staff knowledge, staff training and attention to detail. In terms of what’s new at Ham and Friends, there’s a focus on wines rather than beer. It’s also a real treat to have a kitchen as well as a deli and food prep area.
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
Is there any particular dishes / drinks on the menu that showcase the place i.e. signature dishes etc?
We offer wine flights where you can order 3 x 50ml flights and choose the wines you want to try from the ‘By the Glass’ list.
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
What can we expect from the restaurant menu?
The menu offers regularly changing, seasonal dishes which will showcase a mix of small plates along with an à la carte selection of starters, mains and desserts. Bar snacks will also include a seasonal cheese and charcuterie board.
This is your 3rd venture within West Yorkshire, are there any plans in the future for venues in other cities?
No immediate plans at the moment, there’s still a lot of work to do with the development of Friends of Ham and Ham & Friends but perhaps in the future.
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
Do you have any upcoming events planned?
Yes, we’ve got lots of events planned. Details are below but some dates are still TBC and until we have pricing finalised they aren’t up on our website yet:

  • Wine vs Beer Pairing with Sean Cannon from Cannon & Cannon and Friends of Ham – 5th July
  • Monthly Wine Club first week of each month – first to be arranged, showcasing our new wines coming in that month
  • Monthly Cheese Club with George & Joseph – first date to be arranged
  • July – Yorkshire Wine School, George & Joseph and Ham & Friends Tasting – details to be confirmed
  • Chocolate Making Class with Tyto Leodis
  • Meet the Maker with Le Grappin
  • Ham Carving with Brindisa
  • Cheesemaking Class with Courtyard Dairy
  • Macrame Plant Hanging Workshop with Stitch Up – September
  • Four Food Styling & Photography Workshops a year with Victoria Harley – next one September time and the following around Christmas

Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
Can you tell us more about George and Joseph being a part of the Ham and Friends family?
Response from Stephen from George and Joseph: It’s been fantastic creating a space from scratch, that’s dedicated to cheese. The cheese room will have a controlled environment for both temperature and humidity which is perfect for keeping cheese in top condition. The displays and storage in the room have been created by Andy Kier at Curiosity Allotment, with dark wood themes as a background to showcase the cheeses. As with our Chapel Allerton shop, we’ll be stocking an interesting range of farmhouse and artisan cheeses, mostly from small scale producers in the UK, along with other cheese from around the world. Our knowledgeable team will be on hand to offer samples and advice on choosing the perfect cheese selection. We’re also really looking forward to working together with the Ham and Friends team and Yorkshire Wine School on putting on some cracking tasting and pairing events!
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars          Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade Leeds Best Bars
With Yorkshire Wine School also featuring within Ham and Friends what can guests expect who haven’t yet attended one of their events?
Response by Laura from Yorkshire Wine School: Our wine tastings and courses are fun-filled celebrations of the wonderful world of wine; we help you squeeze a drop more enjoyment out of every glass by teaching you how to pick wines with more confidence. We don’t sell wine, we are not affiliated to any wine merchants, so our job is to introduce you to new wines and teach you a little more about this fascinating subject, without the expectation or pressure to buy. Lots of people attend our events; whether you’re an experienced quaffer or just beginning your wine journey, we even train people who work in the wine trade through our WSET wine qualification programme. We have introductory evenings and courses, specialist masterclasses, wine and food pairing events (cheese, chocolate, fish and chips – you name it, we pair it with wine!), restaurant evenings and more!
Kitchen opening Tuesday 30th May. They will be taking limited bookings for the first week via email or phone, website bookings will be up and running very soon.
Ham & Friends, Grand Arcade, Leeds, LS1 6PG (entrance at 7 Merrion Street)
0113 2461214
[email protected]
www.hamandfriends.com
Ham and Friends Opening Hours
Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Thursday: 11am-11pm (kitchen 5pm-10pm)
Friday: 11am – midnight (kitchen 5pm-10pm)
Saturday: 11am – midnight (kitchen 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm)
Sunday: 11am – 7pm (kitchen 11am-5pm)
Ham & Friends Leeds Grand Arcade – Leeds Best Bars – Leeds Best Restaurants

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