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Roots and Fruits

About Roots and Fruits

Roots and Fruits is practically an institution. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and recently under new ownership, this vegetarian and vegan café first opened its doors on 22nd November 1994 to rapturous applause from non-meat eaters previously deprived of a good place to eat out in Leeds centre. Twenty years later and things have changed quite a bit in the city. Roots and Fruits though is still going strong and remains one of the very few places to offer an exclusively meat free menu, rather than just a token number of dishes. That doesn’t mean to say that it only caters for vegetarians and vegans, of course. With a growing interest in food and sustainable living, people are often keen to know the origin of their food, not to mention the cost to the environment. Added to this is the rise of the so called ‘gastro tourists’. According to recent research, more and more travellers are choosing their holiday destination based on the culinary experience available, with many keen to try new flavours. And exciting new flavours is certainly something which Roots and Fruits has to offer the discerning diner.

Located in the smart and recently refurbished Grand Arcade, Roots and Fruits is popular with pre-theatre diners and you can expect them to be bustling just before curtain call and also over lunchtime. Offering diners a myriad of freshly cooked and delicious dishes, with the opportunity to bring your own alcohol for a small corkage fee, it’s easy to see the attraction in this quirky and friendly café. New owners Kay and Richard took over in November 2013 and are the third owners in the history of Roots and Fruits. Passionate about the café, and the ethos behind it, they have renovated to a fresh contemporary style with greens with sumptuous pink setting off the cool grey, providing a fitting backdrop to the interesting mosaic tiled counter. Pleasant lighting highlights the work of local artists on the walls and many of the original Grand Arcade features remain. The huge windows offer customers the opportunity to watch the world go by from this tranquil oasis, which is just a stone’s throw away from the main shops and offices, and the original numbered floor tiles are still present in the doorway too, which seems only appropriate in an area of Leeds now known for its independent retailers of vintage stores and craft shops.

You can expect a warm and knowledgeable welcome at Roots and Fruits. Here everyone is keen to showcase fresh and imaginative dishes, alongside tried and tested favourites and to show that vegetarian food can be enjoyable and accessible for everyone. A quick glance through the menu reveals a range of dependable dishes such as an all-day breakfast, burritos and a hearty lasagne which sit alongside more exotic dishes such as crisp julienne vegetable, lemongrass and noodle salad, served with a Cambodian wedding day dip, or homemade chickpea and brad bean falafel. There is also a selection of lighter meals on offer such as goat’s cheese fritters with an onion marmalade, Halloumi salad with puy lentils or Welsh rarebit, which may leave room for one of the fabulous deserts such as pomegranate rice pudding, chocolate cheesecake or sticky toffee pudding. The kitchen staff are just as enthusiastic about their work and you can expect to see an ever changing specials board featuring seasonal offerings such as blood orange, mozzarella and braised radicchio salad or mushroom and redcurrant wellington. The chefs Lizzie, Luke and Loui work their magic on the range of fresh produce, which is organic and sourced from Thornes Park in Wakefield, and it’s a delight to see them crafting seasonal vegetables into such creative culinary delicacies. All of the burgers and soups are hand-made and vary according to whatever seasonal produce is available and you can expect such tasty options such as marrow, fennel and rosemary soup served with a freshly baked bread bun each day on the premises. Fresh sandwiches are also an option and include time honoured classics such as egg mayonnaise sitting alongside a tempting artichoke and chickpea pate. Cheese roulade, spicy dhal and nut roasts add to the range of dishes from around the world and are popular favourites on the menu too, offering a warming choice as the cold night draw ever closer.

Roots and fruits is the only restaurant in Leeds to be approved by the vegetarian society, which means that not only do they reach a very high standard and are cruelty and meat free, but all eggs are free-range and all dishes GM free, proving that conscientious and ethical dining can be achieved at an affordable price. Whilst the dishes here are reasonably priced, there is no scrimping on quality and all produce and suppliers have been carefully hand selected. All coffee is Fairtrade, as is much of the tea selection and hot chocolate, and the range of freshly made smoothies are vegan and gluten free. There is also a selection of cold drinks and juices available and you will find a range of handcrafted chocolate by Sweet Revolution, made in Wetherby, and cakes baked freshly by local vegan bakers That Old Chestnut. At Roots and Fruits they are happy to cater for differing diets and most dishes can be adjusted (creatively) to be suitable for vegans and gluten free diners are encouraged to enquire about dishes. The café is also available for private parties and has disabled access, though it should be noted that the toilet is upstairs. Most of the food is available to takeaway and orders can be rung through in advance. Open from 11 – 7 Monday –Saturday.

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