A good friend and customer recently invited me to visit a new place he’d heard about as he knows I love Mediterranean food and that I’m obsessed with Mediterannean ingredients. He works in Leeds city centre so we met and he took me to Domestic Street in South Leeds to a place called Venus Foods and low and behold what do I find? It’s a bloody supermarket – but with a cafeteria at the side of it.
As soon as we got out of the car, the smell of burning coals asailed my nostrils. When I smell burning coals and a whiff of meat behind there, it always gets me excited! So we went in and it’s pretty much a Turkish kebab shop. There’s a shish-kebab rotisserie only it’s the real thing, with chicken and lamb and the chargrill was already open even at midday, already firing away. I spied skewers were aubergine, lamb, chicken, all this beautiful stuff and my mouth started watering. So we sat down and had a few dips, hummus, a few pickles, it was very, very simple but the flavours, wow, I was in heaven!
Now there’s a lot of piss poor pretend American barbecue places in town that taste of smoke powder that lingers on my breath forever. This is not it! Do not be confused, these are people who can cook. There were two Turkish guys on the grill and they made me this whole aubergine interspersed with lamb koftas. It took about 25 minutes to cook which is how long it should have taken to cook. Cooking aubergines well takes skill and understanding, believe me I love well cooked aubergines but badly cooked ones make me vom! I was in heaven in this place, it was simple, delicious and embarassingly cheap.
For dessert I popped next door because they have a bakery where they bake their own breads like Pide but also Turkish sweets like baklava. They are usually far too sweet for me but for the sake of research I got myself three or four and I have to say, they were bloody marvellous.
You’ll find Venus Foods on Domestic Street, LS11 9NS. They’re open until about 9pm and are pretty close to the city centre. They’re from Manchester where they have a supermarket and cafe and now they’ve opened here in Leeds too. After lunch I spent about an hour just wandering around the supermarket, it’s got some fabulous ingredients in there. So thank you to my friend Richard for introducing me to Venus Foods. So if you like real food believe me, there’s nothing fancy about it, just a couple of guys who know how to cook meat. What a place to go. Blooming marvellous!