As the office’s student placement/designated debt amasser, London can be a tricky one. Work chatter frequently turns to outstanding openings and desirable dining, whilst I’m sure Simon Rogan’s new tasting menu is to die for, I simply do not have the pennies. However, there are still plenty of places where you can have a brilliant nibble, keep your Instagram followers engaged and all without having to plead with your parents for some funding to subsidise your newfound, uber-trendy lifestyle. So here are some top student spots on a budget, and don’t worry Leeds folk, we have you covered as well.
Baba G’s – Brixton, London
Some love it, some hate it, but one thing you can’t dispute about the shipping container mecca that is Pop Brixton is the great food offerings. The stand out for me is Baba G’s and their Indian style burger food. Jalfrezi flavoured lamb and onion bhaji in a seeded bun? Yes, please. Spice-coated chips with a mango drizzle? Go on then. Whether it be a weekend hangover cure or a quick bite before you see that up-and-coming Indie band at Brixton Academy, G’s has you covered.
Caravanserai – Crown St., Leeds
Hidden next to the corn exchange is this colourful hotspot, surrounded by small, independent shops that attract the hippest of hipsters, so bring your A-game. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner through the week, this Ottoman feast is bound to engage the senses, with delicious, visually gripping plates for carnivores and veggies alike. You can order takeaway from a window on the bottom floor, alternatively sneak upstairs to the small seating area, packed with more candelabras and rugs than your nan’s loft.
Beigel Shop – Brick Lane, London
Brick Lane is exhausting, and after a day of posing in front of graffiti and trying on vintage jeans, you are bound to be crying out for something to restore your energy levels. Biegel Shop is the place to go, having served mouth-watering, salt beef filled bundles of goodness for over a century. I would be lying if I said I haven’t purposely cut a night out short and made the excursion, and for less than a fiver, my friends should be completely understanding. The best thing about it is it’s open 24/7, so lace up your Reebok Classics and get yourself down there.
Chida Cantina – Cross Belgrave St., Leeds
Located at the end of a dead-end road, only people in the know make it to this Mexican hangout. Open till late, the bar offers a unique take on some classics, including three different kinds of Margarita, so at least one’s bound to put you on the right track for the long night ahead. With a student hotspot just a few doors down, your new pre-drinks spot is sorted, with drinks and food being very student friendly (cocktails start at £7.50). Also, every six months (ish) a different restaurant takes over the kitchen tenancy, keeping you on your toes for many evenings to come.
Bao – Soho, London
Nestled down one of Soho’s many narrow streets is this thirty-capacity haven. Bao buns are the speciality (clue’s in the name), ranging from duck confit to pork belly with some fab vegan options thrown in for good measure. Individual Bao’s are around the £5 mark, whilst their three-course lunch deal comes in at £15 and more than fills you up. Drinks-wise the Peanut Milk is a real treat and makes you feel young again. Most importantly, the food looks great (perfect for your social media stories), which is all that truly matters at the end of the day – just be prepared to queue.
Belgrave Music Hall – Cross Belgrave St., Leeds
The most famous hotspot in Leeds and full to the brim with students and young professionals, this place has you got your back from dawn till dusk. Spread over three floors, start early with a coffee before moving up to a craft beer or two, paired with a treat from their pop-up burger and pizza stands. The middle floor is an event space, hosting everything from DJ sets to yoga sessions. Finish on the roof terrace with whoever has made it this far, cocktail in hand. No frills, plenty of spills.
Joe Public – Clapham Common, London
Situated behind Clapham Common station, Joe Public is that slice of New York delicacy you have been crying out for, pun intended. This spot does it the old-fashioned way, by the slice, eat in or take away. The free wifi makes it great for a casual drop in on an indulgent Saturday afternoon, whilst its midnight closing time provides a warm hug for that sobering train journey home. My advice? Keep it simple with a chorizo and halloumi slice or two.
With the cycling line up announced for the upcoming Tour de Yorkshire, all eyes are yet again on God’s own County, even more so as a holiday destination.
There are times we need a break from our daily routine and what can be better than a weekend or day away from the city? The only decision we have to make is where we would like to go. At Lucre we have a passion for travel and even more so, exploring what’s on the doorstep of our Leeds office. We realised people travel to faraway destinations and forget we have a stunning countryside right in front of us!
Since Yorkshire was chosen for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in summer 2014, Yorkshire has attracted nearly 40 million visitors each year. And for good reason! Tourists from all over the world annually visit the beauty of Yorkshire, its culture, nature and history. But when is the best time to go? To be honest, we all know nobody comes to Yorkshire for the weather but summer is definitely the first choice to go for walks in the Dales, the Peaks or the Moors. If you’re craving some sea air the coastline with its old stone-built towns and stunning beaches are a great weekend getaway. In winter, though we’re glad to wave goodbye, we love to get cosy in ancient sandstone pubs and sit by the fireplace.
And what is there not to love about the county? We have a great drink and food culture. Yorkshire is a historic centre of brewing beers in England which is probably the reason our region has a decent pub around each corner, serving proper pints. And we love a Sunday roast with a Yorkshire pudding covered in gravy. On a summer’s day, there’s nothing better than a day trip to the coastline, some takeaway fish and chips and ice cream. We have the best tea in the world, too – at least from our perspective!
If you want to go shopping, visit Leeds city centre with its huge offering of shops, restaurants, bars and nightlife and if you’re looking to experience the best Yorkshire ales, Hull and Sheffield have one of the biggest pub cultures in the North. But for a day out of the city for some fresh air, there are three national parks all within a couple of hour’s drive – the Lake District, the Moors and the Dales – and the coast with some stunning wildlife, nature and historical sites like Whitby Abbey.
Besides nature and food, Yorkshire offers some different cultural experiences. Hull is the 2017 City of Culture of course – but other places such as York offer an amazing cultural experience and with the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield & Yorkshire Sculpture Park there are some interesting art pieces to find. For someone who’s more into films, Leeds and Sheffield hold an annual film festival which is well worth checking out.
A tip from us locals is ‘layers’ – always pack waterproofs, an umbrella, some sun cream and sunglasses because you never know how the weather will turn out during the day. Yorkshire offers some perfect day trips or weekends away as it has so much to offer. It’s definitely worth exploring more often.
Everybody has heard the old adage “you eat with your eyes” but is it true? In the last month over the course of two very different culinary dates, my girlfriend and I have really put that theory to the test. Firstly, an extremely visual food sensation at Leeds’s only Michelin-starred restaurant The Man behind the Curtain and then eating in the complete dark at London restaurant Dans Le Noir. But which was better? What did I learn about the roles our senses play in our experience of food? And wider afield what does it mean for how brands appeal to all our senses?
“It looks too good to eat,” and the antonym “it looks good enough to eat” are things we’ve all said. Both demonstrate how our perception of food and eating is closely connected to our sight. But when the option to see what you are eating, as I experienced at Dans Le Noir, is removed is one’s experience of food affected? The answer is undoubtedly yes and for me, I’m afraid, it wasn’t for the better. I can conclude categorically that I like being able to see my food and what’s more it increases my enjoyment of a meal.
The contrast between the two meals couldn’t have been starker. Michael O’Hare’s food at The Man behind the Curtain is cosmic in appearance because it resembles a nebula star whereas the experience at Dans Le Noir was cosmic because it was as black as deepest darkest space. However, intriguingly there were similarities. At both meals I didn’t always know what I was eating. At Dans le Noir this was because I couldn’t’ see my food and wasn’t told what I was eating. One had to rely entirely on taste to identify the food, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. At The Man behind the Curtain despite being able to see the food and being given very detailed descriptions of what was on the plate, I still didn’t always know what I was eating simply because the creations were so fantastical. Edible egg shell, for example, blew my fragile little mind.
Food and drink is best enjoyed when all our senses are stimulated. What’s more our relationship between food and drink and senses is well known by brands and frequently exploited. The most tempting treats (those that are bad for us) are always sold at eye-line in the supermarket, coffee shops frequently waft their aromas out on to the street, and how much do you always want a Coke when you hear that pop and fizz of someone else’s can opening? It’s just as important to appeal to all the senses in the language we use when communicating and talking about food and drink. The legendary American salesman Elmer Wheeler said it best “You sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
Appealing to all our senses is essential for all brands. The consumer today wants to have experiences and an emotional relationship with the brands they buy and one way of doing this is ensuring the products and services we use excite all our senses. Brands should consider when appealing to our senses:
Sight – The sense most closely linked to our perception of things. What colours and shapes do customers associate with your brands? What emotions do these evoke? Is your brand recognisable from just its colour, shape, or logo?
Sound – This can easily be conveyed in adverts (Breakfast cereal is sold on sound alone). What sounds and music do customers associate with your brand? Do you have a catchy theme tune or tagline? What sounds do people link to your product? Also, how do people talk about your product?
Smell – The sense that is closest linked to our memories. Smells take us back to childhood or place we once knew. What smells are used in your stores? What memories does the smell of your products evoke?
Taste – This sense is not just confined to food and drink products. If your product had a flavour what might it be? How could taste be incorporated into your brand? If not a food or drink brand what food or drink product would customers associate with your brand?
Touch – The sense that the customer closest links to quality. If it feels good we think it’s good. How tactile is your product? Does it feel better than competitors? Does the customer get the opportunity to feel before they buy?
It makes good sense for brands to appeal to all our senses and they should investigate as many ways as possible to appeal all of them. Based on my two dinner dates I can testify that an experience is definitely better when all your senses are stimulated and excited. Dining in the dark was fun but for me there is definitely more enjoyment in seeing the joy in the face of the person you are with. Call me old fashioned but if I am going on a date with someone beautiful, I want to be able to see them.
In its most recent ‘Best Places to Live’ report, The Times named Leeds as the best cultural place to live in the UK, beating cities like London, Bath and Manchester to come out on top!
We’re a little biased of course, but we tend to agree. Our home city is almost unrecognisable from what it was five years ago, with Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate being just a couple of brand new shiny additions to the skyline that have helped put Leeds on the map. It’s not all about shopping though – institutes like Opera North, City Varieties and the Northern Ballet have also been major players in making Leeds the cultural hotspot that it is today.
Earlier this year we discussed how staycations will be a big part of travel in 2017 and, whilst we love that Leeds has taken the cultural crown, we’re all for championing places that make the UK such a great destination to visit. So why not make this year the year you swap Copenhagen for Cambridge, Berlin for Brighton or Dalaman for Dorset?
Yorkshire has yet again topped the polls for being one of the best places to live in Britain. First Harrogate was voted the happiest place to live, and now Leeds is hitting the headlines as the best city in Britain when it comes to quality of life, placing 26th out of 200 cities globally. Amazing!
With new bars and restaurants opening weekly, beautiful countryside on our doorstep and a flourishing creative and digital industry to boot, Leeds is fast becoming an advocate for the Northern Powerhouse so many MPs and figureheads speak of. Move over, Manchester!
Leeds has of course been home to Lucre HQ for over 10 years, so we couldn’t agree more!
Photo credit: Visit England / Diana Jarvis