Café Moor, Leeds

Leeds’ Kirgkate Market has some serious treats to offer! While I’m not convinced the new food court is the best use of space, there are some absolute gems dotted around the huge amount of stalls. You can’t miss Café Moor. Not only does it have a sweet spot right in front of the North East entrance (by Boots, on the corner of Vicar Lane and George Street), it screams colour, fresh food and sweet treats.

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Café Moor serves up an amazing selection of traditional North African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern street food either to take away or eat at their counter. Think falafel, baba ganouche, shawarma, bourek and all in between. I’d walked past the counter so many times, but never made an excuse to buy something. Which seems ridiculous since it smells amazing, looks fantastic and is seriously good value. So on an afternoon strolling through the market hunting down some bargains, I thought it was about time I tried what they had to offer.

At £3.50, the chicken shawarma is an absolute winner. Served rolled in an Arabic flat bread with pickles, garlic sauce and salad, it really can’t get much better. You could argue that a shawarma is just a kebab…and what’s so good about a kebab. Well firstly…a lot is good about a kebab. But secondly…these things taste so much fresher than a dirty 3 AM chicken doner. Sure, they’ve still got a chunk of chicken rotating on a grill. But that chicken is seasoned and marinated, in tasty bread with a Mediterranean salad that doesn’t compare to some skanky lettuce and red cabbage from a chippy. It tastes fantastic and is an absolute bargain.

Café Moor make a point of showcasing their fresh produce, and aren’t scared to put their salads and cold mezze out for you all to see (while still rocking a five star hygiene rating). I had to get some of their dolma (stuffed vine leaves), which were amazing, and need to try their humous and tabouleh next time.

The service was decent as well. Owner Kada Bendaha seems to influence a culture of keeping the customer happy and was a very jolly guy, showing appreciation to his customers and having a chat with those sat at the counter. A great host! I was offered a free mint tea while I was waiting! I only found out the other day that Kada also runs Caravanserai near the Corn Exchange, which serves up similar food in an amazingly colourful building with an authentic dining area. They do a mighty mixed shawarma with chicken, falafel and avocado.

Now we’ve bought a flat on Kirkgate, I’m hoping this place will become a regular! I need to try one of their boureks. Definitely one to check out if you’re in the market.

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