You can't go far wrong when you treat yourself to breakfast or brunch at one of those Leeds restaurants or cafés that know a thing or two about breaking fasts. And whether it's kickstarting your day in style, soaking up the booze from the night before or simply indulging in a mealtime far too often forgotten, these places will do you right of a morning. It's the most important meal of the day too, dont you know. Enjoy.
Leeds’ students don’t know how lucky they are. There is an abundance of good food outlets in the densely populated, yet culinarily lazy, area, but LS6 (or the Clock Café, as it is occasionally referred to) is possibly the best option for a lively balance of good music, good food and a practically Parisian outdoor seating experience to enjoy in the warmer months. Full English breakfasts start from £7 and combine interesting additions such as scurvy-staving sautéed spinach with fried eggs, crunchy toast and crispy bacon (or veggie sausages).
The rather unimaginatively named Opposite Cafe sits under a bank across the road from Leeds uni’s Parkinson steps. It's famed for its unpretentious atmosphere and velvety flat white. Opposite proves popular for breakfast or brunch at the weekend, with porridge, scrambled eggs on toast, pancakes, cookies, cakes and brownies sold to a steady stream of students putting in the weekend hours at the library, as well as park joggers or old friends meeting up for a natter.
Found at the top end of the city's Northern Quarter, it's a little rough around the edges, but comes with a big dose of charm. The quality of the food and service more than makes up for any decorative shortcomings, and it’s a great choice for a morning meal. The classic full English (£5) is among the best in the city, whether you’re a meat-eater or not – the veggie alternative comes with spicy corn bread. It’s served with either tea or filter coffee, and beans are provided by Leeds’ own North Star roasters. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s plenty more to sample, including American-style pancakes with maple syrup and butter (£3.50), or The Greedy Pig’s own dry cured bacon (£4.25).
It may be primarily known as an independent coffee haunt, but Mrs Atha’s dishes up some of the finest breakfasts in the city from its all-day menu. Found just behind House of Fraser, parallel to Leeds city centre’s main pedestrianised thoroughfare, Briggate, it’s well worth stepping off the beaten path for. Food is chalked up on the blackboard behind the counter, and there’s a fantastic range of coffees and teas to wash it all down with. Some of the highlights include the bacon or sausage sandwiches (£4), pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries (£4.50), organic scrambled eggs on toast with a choice of toppings (£4.50), and muesli with organic yoghurt, berries and honey (£3.50).
A great place for breakfast in the heart of the city centre, this small deli, owned by Joe Hepworth, opened in May 2012 and can be found in the lovely Thorntons Arcade. Produce is sourced from local suppliers, and it serves breakfast and brunch till noon on weekdays and all day on weekends. Don't let the scuffle for tables put you off, though – its breakfast in particular deserves attention. The classic full English (£7.50) can be tailored for vegetarians, with locally reared bacon, pork sausages and black pudding traded for meat-free sausages and wilted spinach. If you have something more modest in mind, the eggs Benedict (£6) or French toast (£6.50) are good options.
An unassuming café at the bottom of Call Lane, this lovely little spot recently increased its square footage with a newly renovated upstairs. There’s a relaxed, rustic, homely feel with framed pictures on the wall, a wooden counter where sweets are displayed, and comfy seats with soft cushions that invite you to sit. Breakfast is served till 11.30am and is available to take away, or eat in for an extra 50p, and has plenty of tempting items. Service is swift and the menu easy to navigate, including items such as a classic full English (the Graze breakfast, £5), a grilled halloumi, mushroom and tomato sandwich (£3), and homemade granola with yoghurt and fresh fruit compote (£2.45), all of which come with a choice of homemade bread – be it white or granary – made using locally milled organic flour.
A favourite for office workers, Brod is perhaps too far away from the city’s central retail area to be a practical option for shoppers, but still seems to be able to pull a steady stream of customers throughout the day thanks to reputation and habit. It would be impossible to miss the sandwich bar’s bright yellow and royal blue exterior, and in the mornings the smell of sizzling bacon fills the nearby streets. Sausage, bacon or egg (or all three if you’re really Hank Marvin) sandwiches cost between two to three pounds, with the option to upgrade to a floury ciabatta for a few pence extra.
Coffee devotees flock to the trendier Opposite or Froth and Fodder – but if it’s inexpensive, good-quality fuel you’re after, Chichini won’t disappoint. Anyone who’s endured the punishing Parkrun on a chilly, autumnal Saturday morning will attest to the undeniable lure of the aroma of bacon and egg that drifts through the café’s doors. Although the food and coffee are nothing out of the ordinary, the baked potatoes and cooked breakfasts are generous and filling, and the panini options are plentiful.