We’re blessed to have an awesome following on Twitter, and one of the things the good people of Leeds have asked us about the most over the last three years is the best place to eat in the city. Of course choosing just one is pretty much impossible, but we spend our time finding the very best ones and popping them on here. This month’s offering will not disappoint.
We’re a city of diverse tastes and cultures, and so it’s only fitting that we’d have a vegetarian cafe in the heart of our town. Anyone who has lived in Leeds for a certain amount of time is bound to know about this place – a calm, friendly cafe tucked away in our historic Grand Arcade, which is undergoing something of a successful indie transformation itself.
Having recently had a bit of a revamp, and flourishing under new ownership, this place is one of our favourite haunts for nursing a hangover. And best of all, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options to choose from it can cater to all tastes whether you’re there with the family, friends, or just want to take a book in by yourself. We talked to the cafe’s latest owners Kay & Richard about niche markets, ethical edibles and becoming part of one of Leeds’ best loved eateries.
Who are you and how did you get here?
The cafe was set up in 1994 by James, who ran it for six years before passing it on to Malti & Jaggi. 12-13 years later we bought the business in November 2013. We knew each other socially, but not very well. Kay had started buying R&F with someone else who had dropped out. Determined to secure the sale she continued to secure financewhen she bumped into Richard at a supermarket, he had just been made redundant… the rest is history!
As customers of R&F from when it was opened in the late 90s thecafehad been a favourite of Kay’s as she’s a long time vegetarian and ethical consumer.
What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?
Our kitchen is wholly vegetarian, no meat has ever been cooked in it! We source locally grown, organic vegetables where possible.
We use local suppliers and Leeds market for other fresh produce & quiz other suppliers about their ethics before buying from them! A lot of our food is suitable for vegans and we can make delicious adaptations of most of the menu. We are aware a lot of people enjoy a gluten free diet and we provide a few dishes that are gluten free too.
We are a little bit off the beaten track and the hustle and bustle of Briggate. We’ve tried to create an oasis of calm making for a relaxing and friendly cafe to sit and watch the world go by in the beautiful Grand Arcade.
What can customers expect from your business?
We have 3 chefs; Lizzie, Luke and Loui, who are all creative in different aspects of food preparation, which makes for a varied specials board. Nearly everything is made at Roots & Fruits including; fresh bread every day, onion marmalade, chutneys, dressings and hummus.
Everything is made to order so this isn’t fast food. We’re not sure if we are a cafe or a restaurant as you can come for tea and cake or a three course meal. The menu is available from 11 am to 7pm, and we don’t dictate when breakfast, lunch or dinner is.
What’s your favourite Roots & Fruits dish?
The special salad is always innovative. Currently we have: Cambodian salad which is julienne vegetables tossed in a lemongrass dressing and served with a Cambodian almond mushroom dip and crispy noodles (4.00 or 6.25)
We also do an All Day Breakfast including tea or coffee for 6.95 which is a great hangover cure! We sell Fentiman’s fizzy drinks; Dandelion and Burdock (2.15) is delicious. We also make our own smoothies, you can choose what fruit or vegetables you want in it from our seasonal smoothie menu and add chilli, ginger or chia seeds too, all for one price 2.95.
What’s your most popular dish?
Our burger is a favourite for lots of people at 7.50. The chefs make a variety of different patties – bean and sweet potato/leek and potato/cannellini bean and chickpea – and you can top them with a suitable accompaniment (all made in house) guacamole, pickled green tomatoes, mature cheddar (or vegan cheese.) Our burgers are always vegan and often gluten free.
What do you think makes Leeds so awesome?
It’s a multicultural city that embraces difference. You can’t get better than that.
Finally, describe Roots 7 Fruits in three words…
Rooty and Fruity