This is The Culture Vulture’s 1000th blog post in just over 2 years, and somehow it seems fitting that the honour goes to welcoming a new independent restaurant into Leeds. Not just any old restaurant either, the first (one suspects of many) by the phenomenonal Create Leeds. We were incredibly lucky that Create supported our second birthday party, JellyWobble, with a major spread of delicious food for over 250 guests back in March, Whilst we were having fun plotting with founder Sarah Dunwell and her irrepresible director Gary Stott (who had to be reined back from creating a sound wall of jelly) we got wind of their ambitious restaurant plans. Evidently they don’t blow out hot air, this is an organisation which no sooner has it committed to something is doing it, and with some flair. You might find me biaised in this blog, because my experience of Create to date has been one of an organisation who do what they say they are going to do, and exceed expecations.
So what is Create Leeds? The picture above of their window vinyls demonstrates just why they are winning awards across the country, for providing a quality catering service, social enterprise consultancy and a food share scheme (there’s more actually but you should check out the website) creating opportunities for employment for those who have been homeless, marginalised or are vulnerable. Chatting with a number of their team I’m struck how resonant the organisation is. Where Sarah speaks of the team’s achievements you know it’s not false humility, everyone you speak to really believes in what they are doing and why, nobody seems in thrall to the cult of a leader either. Take project manager Charlie who is on track to enjoy his weekend at Kendell Calling knowing they’ve finished the transformation ahead of time and under budget. Ask him why and he’s quite clear it’s because the team are deeply committed to making it happen. It’s a kind of low key confidence of purpose that makes me really want this venture to succeed.
The feel good factor would be all well and good, but everyone is clear that the food, service and experience will be what brings repeat loyal customers. I have to be honest before I visited I had misgivings about the location at the grand old 1910 Allied Irish building Atlas House, the previous businesses have not fared well. But then their menus always struck me as a bit odd, and nothing compelled me to pay a second visit. I very much doubt that Create will suffer the same fate, as they are joined by Richard Allen previously the executive head chef at Harvery Nichols 4th Floor in Leeds. Watch this space foodie bloggers for a special event we’re plottin’
The interior bodes well, it’s light, spacious (despite accommodating 130 covers and the versatility for private dining) and the attention to detail is playful, yet sophisticated. I love the light shades and the upholstery buttons which subtly pick out the Create colours. Local company Oblong are behind the bespoke design, I’m hoping they may have a slightly chipped chair or two knocking about for my new office…(kidding!)
So the proof of the pudding will inevitably be in the eating, and I think I’m just the person to go along and put them to the test! Am I alone?
Create, Atlas House, King Street Leeds. Image Stanley Walker