The Hedonist Project – Leeds

The Hedonist Project Leeds Old Tom's Gin Kitchen

Oh I do love discovering places which are a little more than what they seem! If you’re from the Leeds area, you may already be familiar with The Hedonist Project as it sits at the top of Lower Briggate (right hand side, just before you get to Nandos on the corner), as their concept has been making waves on the independent scene in recent months.

The project is to bring a new bar to Leeds every three months, but the catch is that the venue remains constant. Back in November, they launched in their premises on Briggate as Liquor and Whisky, as a cosy winter bar which was all about single malt. After closing for three days at the back end of March and completely re-doing the bar, they’re now Old Tom’s Gin Kitchen. What I love about this is that everyone mucks in for the re-vamp – the bar staff painted the walls, changed the light fittings and did the tiling around the bar. At the end of June, it will be all change again and something new will be coming to Leeds.

I was invited down to do a menu tasting and of course to drink some gin at The Hedonist Project recently and I’m so impressed with how it’s something entirely new in Leeds. Leeds has seriously upped it’s drinking game in the last 12 months but The Hedonist Project has nailed it by keeping everything fresh and interesting by essentially launching four new bars a year. Right now, Old Tom’s Gin Kitchen focuses on, of course, gin, and they even have their own lemon flavoured gin brewed especially to sell there.

As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve read my other foodie posts, I absolutely love anything that’s really local, really Yorkshire and this bar doesn’t disappoint as they’re all about supporting local suppliers for their food and drinks. They also prep everything in house from scratch which a big yes from me.

We spent the evening with Dan, who took us through a full history of gin, allowed us to taste different types and did a menu tasting throughout the evening. Did you know that the term ‘Dutch Courage’ was coined because during a war in Holland (forgive me, I haven’t done history since year 9 so I can’t actually remember which one), the soldiers would drink gin before going to battle and it made them lose their inhibitions?

Whilst we were at The Hedonist Project, Dan made us a couple of different drinks. Naturally a gin and tonic was on the menu and this is definitely a taste I’m coming round to. I’m a massive lover of gin, but tonic is one of those acquired tastes, which I can confirm that I have now acquired. We also tried their twist on a Bramble and oh my days this is a babe of a cocktail. It contains Tanqueray Gin with roasted barley syrup, lemon juice and comes with a teaspoon of bramble jam and lemon foam. It’s sweet and delicious without giving you the sugar high headache you’d expect.

Their food menu is also pretty dreamy and dare I say it, I’m swaying more towards brunch than dinner. I’m really becoming a brunch person now, it is definitely my new favourite thing. Also just as a side note on their food menu, it’s all very gluten free and veggie friendly. We tried their manuka honey granola bar which is the absolute dream and their smashed avocado on toast with a poached egg. This was my first avo-on-toast experience and I now 100% understand the hype around it, especially when the bread is freshly baked.

We also tasted the courgette and aubergine melanzane which is a veggie dish baked in a tomato sauce and topped with cheese. This is pretty much a dream dish for me as I love every single ingredient and it’s got that comforting feeling of warming your tummy during the freak weather that Leeds currently has going on, but won’t leave you in a food coma that’s more suited to December times. Get what I mean?

We did some dessert tasting too (it would be rude not to), and tried their lemon drizzle which was heaven on a plate as I love anything citrusy. It was simply delicious and everything you’d want from a dessert – sweet and yummy and just dreamy.

As you may have guessed, I’m a massive fan of The Hedonist Project already and I really feel that a concept bar like this seriously steps up the bar game in Leeds. Whilst I’m excited for what they’re bringing in next at the end of June (we did ask, they wouldn’t tell us), I’m slightly concerned that I only have two months to eat my way through the brunch menu. Serious first world problems going on over here.

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