Sunday, 10 February 2013

Learning to love Leeds: Oranaise

I hate to say it, but I'm definitely warming to my new home town.  And I have to concede when it comes to little gems of places to eat and drink, Leeds and it's outlying suburbs may well have the edge on York.  My own view is that, J Baker's aside, York is not a top foodie destination and that while traditional pubs abound, it has fewer interesting bar type establishments than one might expect from a city with such a large population of both students and tourists. 

Today D and I ventured out in the rain to walk to Hyde Park Corner, an area of Leeds that is deep in the depth of Studentville with the pavements bearing the takeaway detritus to prove it.  Sorry, that's a terrible generalisation, isn't it?  I hardly ever ate takeaways when I was a student...  Anyway, the primary mission was for me to view a coat stand in a vintage furniture shop (verdict: very cool but not quite £65 worth of musthaveness) but we decided to make a bit of a trip of it and do lunch as well.  D, who is becoming something of a truffle pig for good eateries, suggested a Moroccan café / restaurant called Oranaise

Who knows what tipped him off - it's not a cuisine I know an awful lot about, nor one I would ever be likely to choose and still, I loved it.  We both opted for wraps - shawarma chicken with houmous and merguez sausage respectively, which were priced just either side of £4, and arrived hot and groaning with fillings.  The merguez sausages were absolutely divine, oozing deliciously spiced oil all over the place (including down my front - I really must take a bib when I go out to eat).  D decided to partake of one of the teas on offer - mint, lemon and honey, which was slightly too sweet to be truly refreshing but tasty nonetheless. 

There was more substantial fare available (although I have to say the wraps themselves were more than sufficient for a nice lunch); a man a few tables down from us ordered what I presume to be the couscous royale which looked absolutely epic, and the chaps next door were enjoying a very robust full English - possibly less than authentically North African but tasty looking nonetheless.

Purely in the interests of research, we forced ourselves to try a selection of Moroccan pastries, although I, ever the good Weight Watcher (ignores shouts of laughter from collected audience) only had a nibble of each.  They were absolutely amazing - particularly a filo tube which seemed to be filled with some sort of hazelnut concoction.  Very, very sweet though - they were absolutely drenched in honey. 

It had a lovely atmosphere as well - brightly coloured, the window cluttered with tagines the walls covered in intricately framed little mirrors, and a friendly couple of waiting staff.  All in all, it was very almost worth the half hour walk in the rain to get there and that, my friends, is a pretty high compliment from this sofa loving sloth. 

1 The Crescent
Hyde Park



  1. I visit my cousin at uni in Leeds and have eaten here twice. It is excellent, and a great place to try new things. I don't think you could be served a bad meal!

    1. I'm glad to hear you say that as I definitely want to go back and check out some of the other dishes! Worryingly (or not), I've discovered that they do takeaway AND that they deliver to my front door...

  2. I walk past here every day and have never been in. It's too easy to fall back on the same places every time (I always seem to end up in the Heart cafe in Headingley!)but this has inspired me to make the effort to try Oranaise. Please post any more local recommendations you have!

    1. Sarah, I definitely will - and will also try out the Heart cafe as well!

  3. Good, I definitely recommend it for lunch. I think they do evening meals too sometimes but I have never been. I would like to try one of their themed nights.

    Oranaise deliver? ooh, I also discovered that Miah's Kitchen in town deliver too. I may never go out again!