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Food Review Urban Bean, Kirkstall, Review

We try a hearty breakfast at a new cafe just a stone's throw from Kirkstall Abbey

Food Review: Urban Bean, Kirkstall, Review

Kirkstall Road is blessed with a surprisingly large number of good eateries. Starting up nearer Leeds city centre, you’ve got quality Indian food at Sheesh Mahal and Hasan’s, excellent Latin American tapas at Viva Cuba and, opposite Kirkstall Abbey, great Spanish food at Dos Amigos.

Now there’s a quality little cafe opened up just down the road from the abbey and a short stroll from the Kirkstall retail park. Urban Bean has only been open a couple of months and has taken over a small part of the old Millrace restaurant.

The little cafe is open all day Monday and Tuesday and stays open until 8pm Thursday to Sunday, which is something of a novelty for unlicensed premises. In fact, it’s nice to see somewhere open up as an alternative to the pub for an evening gathering – meaning visitors to the cafe’s regular book club or local music nights can enjoy the entertainment on offer while supping a lassi, smoothie or choosing from the selection of herbal teas and coffees on offer.

Setting itself up as half cafe half social spot, Urban Bean offers a range of sandwiches and salads, plus Indian food like samosas and pakoras, and even a vegetarian special of a daal-based toastie. We call in at around midday on a Saturday and, as tempting as the samosas look, it’s nigh on impossible to ignore the breakfasts on offer, so we order one full breakfast (with halal lamb sausages) and one vegetarian breakfast.

We’re about to sit down when we’re informed there’s a courtyard outside and, with the sun out, it seems rude not to go and enjoy the fresh air. Once out in the courtyard it’s hard to believe that you’re sitting alongside Kirkstall Road. This little hidden spot looks overlooks the River Aire and somehow manages to avoid the nearby traffic noise.

While sipping a great Americano (made with a special Fairtrade blend for Urban Bean) and a spicy Asian tea (like a Chai, but made with cardamom and cinnamon), the breakfasts arrived. They were well-sized (not excessively huge, but certainly not miserly), with crunchy hash browns, little pots of beans and tomatoes and plenty of toast and butter. The real highlight, though, was those aforementioned lamb sausages, truly rich and flavoursome.

As we head out, we take a look around the intimate interior of the cafe and notice plenty of nice touches. There’s a small photography exhibit, with proceeds from sales going to the Candlelighters charity (a proportion of every pound spent at Urban Bean goes to the charity too) and even a charming wall space for heart-shaped ‘I Saw You’ notes.

This really is a charming little coffee shop: a great spot for a sun-soaked coffee, for a filling hangover-busting budget feed, or for a spot of evening socialising with a tasty smoothie.

Posted on Wednesday 11th May 2011

Urban Bean

6 Commercial Road, Leeds, LS5 3AQ

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Comments on Food Review: Urban Bean, Kirkstall, Review

Comment by Mark Fairhead

Posted on Mon 23rd May 11 7:36 pm

er a full english without bacon… interesting. If it is a halal cafe, say so in the review, don’t try to pretend it is something it is not.

Comment by Simon Goldblum

Posted on Tue 24th May 11 9:03 am

Hi Mark, yep it is a halal cafe - hence the halal sausages. The amazing sausages more than make up for the lack of bacon though.

Comment by Ryan Green

Posted on Tue 24th May 11 11:23 pm

was absolutely disgusting when i had a breakfast here a couple of months ago.  the egg was raw, sausages cold and the miserly 1 slice of toast burnt!

Comment by Urban Bean

Posted on Sat 28th May 11 4:54 pm

Thanks Tom for the lovely review and the pictures that James took are fab. I’m sure he’s a photographer in demand with a talent like that.
Urban Bean never claims that its Full Fill breakfast has bacon we have a detailed description of it on the menu board. We’re trying to make a healthy and different option for our local customers with lamb sausages and the option of poached egg rather than fried.
It’s a shame that the above 2 have decided to comment negatively on UB’s new, cosy venture without actually coming to try us. Clearly the above commentator hasn’t been in because we never serve 1 slice toast, always 2 and with it just being me and my partner working hard and enjoyably to create a local hub we would know.
Nonetheless we’re flattered that people should make it part of their time to comment on UB, encouraging comment or otherwise, since it means that despite being new to the game Urban Bean is noticable enough to attract attention.
And a final thanks to all those out there who have offered us genuine advice and support when they’ve visited UB including the Leeds Guide. Good work.

Comment by Jane Henry

Posted on Sat 18th Jun 11 12:26 pm

I’m still recovering from having a coffee spilt over me too!  I suppose that didn’t happen either!!!!!

Comment by Ryan Green

Posted on Sat 18th Jun 11 12:31 pm

I came in when your partner was not working.  You told me she worked as a podiatrist and had not given up her job yet. You served me and a young lad cooked the food in the cellar and I most definitely only got one slice of toast.  I am not in the habit of lying thank you.

Comment by Urban Bean

Posted on Mon 27th Jun 11 9:47 am

I can only apologise profusely to Ryan above for his experience. We’ve had a few smears recently with serving a different slant on a cafe menu and that’s put us on the defensive. We know which member of staff you are referring to, whom we employed when we first started and had to let go sadly for similar reasons. I would be shocked to hear of such an experience now that we only rely on ourselves mainly for cooking and serving. Thanks for having given us a try though despite it.

Again thanks to everyone who are allowing us the chance to pick up as a new and different community venture. We also have a comments box inside because we’re loving the challenge of doing better and better. Look out for our summer courtyard.

Comment by Charlychuckles Kelly

Posted on Tue 5th Jul 11 12:13 pm

I had a coffee at UC a few weeks ago and enjoyed the service and atmosphere. I think UC should not be so defensive in this comments section but aim to get some posative customer comments instead….

Comment by Graham Knapton

Posted on Tue 12th Jul 11 2:53 pm

I joined a few friends for breakfast at Urban Bean just the other day and I have to say our experience there was great. The food was excellent, the staff were very friendly and the courtyard is beautiful. Definitely recommend it and the courtyard is a must.

Comment by Jean Crawford

Posted on Sat 11th Aug 12 8:31 pm

Today was our first visit to Urban Bean for a quick lunch.  Tasty food, generous portions and friendly, efficient staff contributed to our enjoyment.  The photographic images and post-it note messages on the walls added to the quirky decor and the sunny courtyard made you forget that you were near a busy main road.  Altogether a relaxing Saturday lunch.  Our first visit to Urban Bean but definitely not our last!

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