Something I don’t do very often these days is eat out, I think that I’ve got into spending time at home with friends and family for food, so this was such a glorious treat for me.
I was invited to a new café in North Leeds to experience some hearty, scrumptious homely food at Ira B’s.
Now, after working in Leeds for many years I already knew of Ira Silverman, but only for her corporate catering, so this was new territory for me. I drove an hour and forty minutes from my house to experience Ira B’s, but was it worth it?
When I arrived Ira B bounded across to say hi to me and my little girl. A box filled with crayons, note pads, colouring books and exciting things was placed in front of the toddler and she was as happy as Larry!
Ira told me about her years as a corporate caterer in Leeds, her Jewish heritage, and the reasons behind her menu. And, I must stress that this menu is absolutely unique, filled with things I’d never heard of and with full explanations of what each word means (brilliant for someone like me with no knowledge of Jewish food).
The menu itself was rough, sturdy and made of seriously thick card, perfect for my daughter to hold as it couldn’t be wrecked and I loved the quirkiness of having to constantly turn the menu around to be able to read it properly. The décor is a mis-match of hardy furniture, with woods, metals and plastics used in abundance, somewhere you could never ever feel formal. Brilliant for a leisurely informal lunch like we had at Ira B’s.
Ira B’s obviously has lots of regulars as Ira and her team of front of house staff knew every single customers name, which I thought was an excellent touch, especially in this day and age when people are just too busy to acknowledge what’s going on around them.
After checking out the menu for a good 10 minutes (there’s just so much to look at) I opted for the B.O.B – Bit of Both, which is a culmination of Half a Salt Beef Sandwich (The Ultimate Salt Beef Sandwich, more meat than you can eat) and a Mug of Chicken Soup with Lokshen and Knaidlach (dumplings and vermicelli). But the Salt Beef Sandwich was more than just a sandwich, because the brisket has been pickled in brine for 10 days before being boiled it literally melts in your mouth. My mouth is watering whilst I’m typing this, because it really did melt like butter! The Chicken Soup known as Jewish penicillin was a clear consommé style soup with a single and extremely hearty dumpling made from matzo bread, which is a traditional style Passover bread and is brimming with Lokshen a fine vermicelli very similar to spaghetti.
Having never tried proper Jewish food before I have to say I wasn’t disappointed and the soup was beautifully flavoured with just enough in the mug to make me a happy bunny. But the beef, oh the beef! My sandwich was bursting with salt beef piled high, maybe 5 or 6 extremely thick slices (we’re talking almost an inch thick each) of perfectly cooked, soft and tender, saliva inducing brisket beef served with a secret homemade mayo and traditional gherkin in beautiful bread.
You must, I repeat must try Ira B’s.
I’ve already decided that I’m taking my fiancé because he’ll probably want the Grobber, which is 2 Salt Beef sandwiches, yes you heard me right 2 of these amazing sarnies. I’m going to try the Chicken Schnitzel or the Fried Fish, or maybe I’ll have a B.O.B again, who knows, but I do know one thing, that this special little café in North Leeds is by far the most wonderful café I’ve visited in years.
Ira B’s menu has so much to offer from Man vs Food style dishes, to a Pan of Chicken Soup, or even Dippy Eggs. There are half portions for those without a major hunger plus some outstanding dishes for children including Hot Dog Bites (served small and with pickle and hoola hoops), which my daughter had.
Thanks must go to Ira Silverman for looking after me and my daughter, and all the other customers who walked into Ira B’s the day I did, I know they won’t have been disappointed, because I wasn’t.
Prices range from £5 for the children’s meals, to £6 for half a Grobber, £9 for a B.O.B (half sandwich and mug of soup) and £10 for the Grobber itself.
Ira B’s can be found on Facebook, just search for Ira B’s Café. Just off Street Lane at 27 Chelwood Drive LS8 2AT. www.ira-bs.co.uk
Enjoy your visit.