Brandon Street Night Market
Last night I dreamt I went to Berlin again. To a disused factory converted into an underground hipster hangout, no less.
Except Brandon Street Night Market is in Leeds. In real, post-industrial, gritty, Armley, Leeds. The cavernous space, oil drum tables and shabby (not-so-chic) picnic benches certainly smacked of Kreuzberg’s unassuming uber-cool. There were even hot dogs as good as any bratwurst I’ve had to match, too. But we were definitely in Leeds.
Held under the twinkling fairy lights of Canal Mills on the last Friday of every month, the Night Market is proving to be one of the not-so-hidden treasures of Leeds. I’d heard the rumours on Twitter, and decided it was time to try it out myself.
Walking through the silence of the cobbled street entrance to the disused mill complex, you are suddenly hit with a crazy olfactory combination of mouth-watering street food – and spray paint. Strange. (In the market’s defence there was a pretty impressive graffiti wall live art project taking place too). Along with the bass of the Butter Side Up DJs, this place is differently cool. Almost a bit too cool. You know, the sort of cool when you start to wish you’d worn your Nineties Mum jeans and crop top combo, rather than opt for the warmth of your winter coat? That.
Anyway, time for the food. After umm-ing and aah-ing and wandering past the stalls deciding what to eat – El Kantina pulled pork, Cowboys burgers, Papa Ganoush Lebanese chicken, or the deli delights at Hepworths – we got in the queue for a Diamond Dog’s hotdog. It was tough to choose between a Chilli Cheese Dog (topped with slow-braised beef chilli, homemade nacho cheese sauce and jalapenos), or The Boss Dog (smoked BBQ pulled pork, BBQ sauce, pickles, mustard, and red onions). So we went for both.
Diamond Dogs do not have the squeaky skin of your usual Ikea-esque hot dog offering. Made from scratch with 100% Yorkshire pork and smoked over English fruit woods, they are a truly tasty cheap eat. (£5-£5.50 per dog, depending on your toppings). Sitting with a can of Brooklyn beer and a pint of Summer Wines Brewery Pacer lager, this is casual street food eating at it’s best. Judging by how we only just managed to squeeze on to a table, most of Leeds seems to think so too.
A second, quieter room has retro video games, comfy sofas, and a pop-up T-shirt and graphics art stall. Mario Kart, anyone? Before any usual Canal Mills raving kicked off (and, ironically, judging by the queue for the very refined elderflower and gin coolers this wasn’t far away) we nipped across to Hepworth’s deli stall and got a caramel slice and chocolate Crunchie tart to take home and enjoy with a cup of tea. Told you it was a bit too cool for me.
It’s held on the last Friday of every month. Go! Just don’t tell your friends, or else it will get too busy.