Friends of Ham is an independently owned establishment, known for their cheese boards, charcuterie and impressive craft beer offerings. Based in the North, their quirky venues currently span Leeds and Ikley, both hosting guests for drinks and grub alike. On a rather excellent recommendation, we went along last weekend for lunch in their Leeds branch.
Inside, you're met with a rustic wooden bar, long communal tables and a brightly coloured tile floor. Friends of Ham, as the name suggests, has a really friendly and homely feel. Vegetarians shouldn't be put off by the name though, as well as the plethora of cheeses there are lots of veggie options too. The staff were warm and knowledgable about the beer, cider and produce, happy to give small samples as your would expect. The menu is also clearly labelled with vegetarian cheeses, unpasteurised varieties and gluten free options.
I went for the cheeseboard with two selections, those being Brie de Meaux and Kirkhams Lancashire and the Sauteed Mushrooms & Melted Gubbeen alongside (£6). The one, two, three or four cheese boards are £5, £8, £11.50 or £14 respectively and come with breads, chutney and grapes. My dining companion went for the Best of British Meat Plate (£13) which is amongst other curated special boards such as the Italian Meat Plate and French Board.
The cheese was deliciously gooey (cliche, but it's the only way to describe it!) with great quality sour dough bread and melt-in-the-mouth mushrooms. I could have happily eaten just that, but this is cheese we're talking about and I'm greedy. The Brie on my lovely wooden board was lovely and creamy, served at just the right temperature. The Lancashire had more of a crumbly texture with extra tang and a crystalized texture throughout. Both of our boards went down really well as a casual lunch idea for a day exploring the city.
I would definitely recommend for couples and large groups for a relaxed atmosphere and something to suit all cheese and meat lovers. Although I get the feeling that booking would be wise - we got lucky! Look out for their speciality tasting nights, including cheese and wine pairing and a beer dinner. You can get even hampers made up and delivered locally too - perfect for gifts and the festive season!
Have you ever been to Friends of Ham? What cheese would you choose from the menu?
Friends of Ham Leeds
4-8 New Station St,
4-8 New Station St,