A City Break in Leeds
There are many reasons to take a city break in Leeds: a trip to the theatre, a celebratory meal or, in the case of our latest reviewers, to attend the launch party of a new restaurant.
When we were invited to the launch party of Johnny Fontane’s – a new American diner opening soon in the heart of Leeds, we decided to take advantage of Leeds’ only 5 star accommodation and booked ourselves a weekend break at the deluxe Residence 6 Apartments. And, what a wise choice that proved to be!
Conveniently situated on City Square (opposite Leeds station), Residence 6 can be found in the beautiful Grade II listed building, which used to house Leeds’ main Post Office. I remember going there to buy stamps back in the day when my brother was at Leeds University in the 1980s. So, it is great to see the building so lovingly utilised now by two restaurants (on the ground floor) and these fine apartments above. The apartments are spread over three floors and comprise a range of one and two bedroomed serviced apartments.
On arrival, the friendly receptionist showed us to our double suite, Number 12, which overlooked the square. On entering the main living quarters, we were greeted with the scent of fresh lilies, one of the main components in our welcome bouquet; along with a handwritten card, a box of Thornton’s chocolates and a bottle of Moët & Chandon chilling in the fridge, nestling alongside some breakfast essentials.
We were left to settle in and explore the huge two-storey apartment. We were enchanted with the enormous bedroom we entered first; with the soft afternoon light filtering through the drapes, from two ‘walls’ of windows, dappling the crisp white bed linen with pale shadows. The room had an aesthetically pleasing archway, which really grabbed my attention – in the same way the metal ‘beams’ had in the lounge.
Architects would love this apartment.
In the entrance hall (I forgot to mention that the apartment had a huge lobby with a ‘downstairs’ loo), we followed the staircase to the next level, where we discovered another king-sized bed, this time in a room with an internal window overlooking the lounge, from this mezzanine floor. At the foot of the bed was an ultra-modern double bath, and to the side was a door leading to another en suite, again, with walk in wet room style shower and resplendent with Molton Brown toiletries and white bath robes. This place was really living up to its claims of ‘setting new standards for opulence, exclusivity and luxury living’.
It was hard to tear ourselves away from our temporary luxury abode – but we were in Leeds for a reason –and so, off we went to the launch party.
Johnny Fontane’s isn’t open to the public yet; this was an ‘invitation only’ event and we were really looking forward to trying it out. It’s theme is one of an American diner with a menu of classics (mainly of burgers and sides) and a drinks list featuring many imported beers from the States. The decor is cheery and tasteful and there are great retro touches – such as the cute napkin holders and classic black and white photos of Elvis and other stars from the 50s and 60s. However, ordering your food is an ultra-modern affair: when you’ve placed your order, you’re given a ‘pager’ and, when your order is ready, a red light flashes to let you know it’s time to go to the collection point. This is great for customers who, like me, are hard of hearing. I thought it was a great idea.
The burgers are made on site every morning from high quality meat and this comes through in the flavour: the burgers were mouth-wateringly good and accompanied by tasty Maris Piper ‘fries’. I stepped away from tradition to choose house wine (rather than a beer) and have to say that the house wine (Pinot Grigio) was lovely – and good value for money too.
We wish young entrepreneurs, George and Elliot, the very best of luck in their new business venture – and we implore the good people of Leeds – and visitors like us - to pay them a visit when they fancy a burger - once they’re open, of course! The restaurant is on Great George Street, in what was formerly Bianco’s; not far from Millennium Square.
After an evening of eating, drinking and making merry with some food bloggers we knew of on Twitter, but had never met in person, it was back to our luxury pad, which was only a short walk away.
As my head hit the pillow, I was thinking of what the following day might have in store: a trip to Tropical World, a walk around Golden Acre Park, Leeds Museum, the Art gallery – or a day of shopping in and around the Victoria Quarter, visiting favourites such as The White Company and White Stuff. Hmmm... very sweet dreams.
After a great night’s sleep in our very comfy bed – we opted for the room with the arch rather than the one with the bath – we enjoyed a leisurely late breakfast before deciding to do a spot of shopping and paying a visit to the Leeds Museum, which is well worth a visit.
As we had a fully fitted kitchen at our disposal, we thought we’d make the most of it and decided to dine in and enjoy our champagne. There are two well known supermarkets very close to the apartments and the famous Kirkgate market is only a short stroll away so, we had no trouble sourcing ingredients for our meal. So, we dined on fresh pasta, with mushrooms, tomato and mascarpone sauce and garlic bread, whilst enjoying a bird’s eye view of Leeds after dark and sipping champagne. Cheers!
Leeds City Museum
Leeds Art Gallery
Tropical World at Roundhay Park
Golden Acre Park
Photos by Richard Aspinall