Belgrave: bringing the festival indoors


Fish& tapas portions – the lemon, lime and chilli batter is delicious

Located in the rapidly expanding ‘Northern Quarter,’ and so jostling for business with the likes of the newly-opened The Pit and It Bar, and popular drinking stalwarts Mojos, Sandinista and Reform, Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen has managed to find its own niche in this part of hipsterville: bringing the best of the outside street food and music festival experience inside a cavernous warehouse-like space.

The three-storey venue works its unique brand of minimalist chic throughout: the ground floor houses mismatched vintage sofas and long industrial tables made of upcycled wood and metal piping – perfect for sitting around with friends and enjoying a beer from the excellent selection on draught – Kirkstall Brewery was on tap when we visited. Chipboard and reclaimed tiles surround the canteen’s two kitchens: one a permanent home of Dough Boys pizza (excellent) and the other a rotating pop up curated by the street food gurus at Northern StrEats. For the launch, Fish& have taken up residency. Their fish and chips with a twist – lemon, lime and chilli battered fish served with proper chips and home-made garlic mayo or tartare sauce in kitsch newspaper cones – really were delicious. Even more so because the first fifty samples on the opening nights were free. But usually served up at £3.50 a cone, a portion is hardly breaking the bank.

We also sampled the pizza slices at Dough Boys: the wood-fired pizza ovens give the bases a satisfying crispness, topped with artisan meats from The Reliance over the road, and lots of hot, stringy, buffalo mozzarella. The intriguingly named ‘Baa no more’ – spiced lamb, pomegranate and pine nuts – is definitely one to try. Food is served from 4pm until late, Monday – Thursday, and 12pm till late on Friday and Saturday – so you can grab a slice of pizza after your gig. It’s half price a slice between 4pm-7pm every day of the week – bargain.

It would be easy to while away hours on the ground floor at Belgrave – if it wasn’t for the second floor hosting great live music. As Belgrave is a collaboration between Leeds-based promoters Simon Stevens and Ash Kollakowski, who have run successful nights for Nation of Shopkeepers and organise the Beacons festival, it’s fair to say we can expect great things. The opening weekend saw Wet Nuns, Black Moth and Battle Lines, along with DJ sets from The Horrors and Pulled Apart By Horses – pretty impressive for a brand new venue.

And finally, if you do manage to drag yourself away from both the excellent food and drink and the live music, the upstairs roof space rewards punters who have climbed the vast stone staircase with a great view of the Leeds skyline. Fake grass and wooden garden sheds with cosy tea lights to sit in and enjoy your drink make it the perfect hang-out, (almost) whatever the weather!


Read the original review on Dig Yorkshire