Review in Yorkshire Evening Post
In September 2012 the Yorkshire Evening Post reviewed Friends of Ham when were still little Ham and awarded us 4 out of 5 stars!!
FRIENDS of Ham. In the immortal words of Chandler Bing from the classic sitcom, could there be a better name for a bar?
And Friends of Ham isn’t just any old cafe bar.
It is, if you hadn’t guessed, a charcuterie bar. That’s right, selling lots and lots of ham.
With Leeds city centre packed to the gills with drinking and eating options, it’s unusual and quiet exciting to find something genuinely different.
Its owners reckon they have created the only craft beer and charcuterie in the UK.
It’s hard to test that claim, but they’ve certainly created a welcome addition to the dining scene.
Located on New Station Street, it rubs shoulders with such incongruous neighbours as Yate’s and The Mortgage Point, but also Leeds Brewery pub The Brewery Tap and chic coffee shop Laynes Espresso.
With only a small sign outside, the place is hiding its light under a bushel somewhat, though it has obviously already built up some fans – on a weekday teatime the place was almost full.
The menu isn’t hugely varied, but the owners say that every item on it has been chosen with flavour in mind.
Basically there is ham – much of which you can see being sliced at the end of the bar – and there is cheese. Those are the staples, though they are supplemented by some other offerings, including gourmet scotch eggs, pate and pork pies.
With the drinks offering including a multitude of unusual beers, ales and stouts and on draft, Little Oliver’s dining partner was in heaven.
We’d chosen dishes to share, though it soon became clear I wasn’t going to get a look in with his black pudding scotch egg.
This arrived sliced and accompanied by salad leaves and some mustard. He loved it.
I’d decided to give the black olive tapenade a whirl and though it wasn’t cheap at £4, this could easily be a starter between two, a mound of salty, olivey spread with an extremely generous helping of delicious granary toast and a dish of mini cornichons.
The star of the show was the sharing platter of two meats and two cheeses though.
For £13.50, choose any but the most expensive hams or cheeses, which came alongside oatcakes, oil-drizzled bread, olives, chutney and sweet chilli jam.
The chorizo was spicy and moreish while the Tereul ham – similar to Serrano, accordingly to the menu – was lighter, tasty and intensely savoury.
Our cheese choices were just as good, Wookey Hole cave-aged cheddar was smooth and dense, while the Mayfield Farmhouse was mild and sweetish, a perfect accompaniment to the chilli jam. All in all, it was absolutely delicious.
Coupled with the friendly, unobtrusive but attentive service, and thoughtful touches like bottles of water and glasses on the tables for diners to help themselves, it made for a highly enjoyable evening.
Together with two drinks, which were on the expensive side, our bill came to £29.25.
It may not represent a cheap eating option, but this is one friendship worth cultivating.
page 8, Thursday 6th September 2012Back to Reviews