In our continuing series trumpeting the loveliness of places where we love to scoff when we’re out of the house, Vicky Lindsay Warburton makes a tasty case for some all-round decent scran in Leeds.
I recommend you Eat Here: The Granary, Crag House Farm, love.
Address: Crag House Farm, Otley Old Road, Cookridge, Leeds, LS16 7NH
Is it a restaurant, cafe, bistro, takeaway, drive thru, chippy, roadside van or motorway services? A restaurant serving breakfast, a daytime menu, afternoon tea and which is open at least one night per month for special evening dining.
First appearances tell you this is a very posh cafe, BUT it’s actually a very down to earth cafe. The beauty is, it’s a charity, of which every penny spent here goes to fund Caring For Life, a Christian organisation who support damaged and vulnerable people in the community.
What kind of food do they serve? Homemade British classics with a twist. It’s good quality, inexpensive fodder with a great range of cakes and liquids; some of the food you’ll be cramming in your orifice comes directly from the farm; some of it grown by the adults working on one of the 17 therapeutic daytime projects on offer.
Oh, did I mention the meringues? Massive brain-sized beautiful beasts are a MUST in the food section of the shop. Tongues are regularly wound back every time customers pass.
The crowning glory is the location; it’s in the country. Amazing when you think you are seven miles from Leeds city centre. To find The Granary you’ll pass various projects and the nurseries, which produce some of the produce you’ll eat in future weeks.
The building is amazing and you have a view into the kitchen, which is, er… next to the piano! Honestly, it does exist and everyone is welcomed in here. The 17th-century barn, with attached conservatory is stunning. Really, you won’t ever visit a nicer charitable building EVER.
Fact: The kind donation of one significant individual, and a few others, funded this whole renovation project. It’s not a reflection of the financial state of the charity; they are anything but financially comfortable and every sale helps.
What’s the scoffing soundtrack you’ll hear, here? It varies from silence, which I love (the wrong music choice and I’m not even sitting down), to, on some afternoons, faintly piped old classics coming through the ether. Whatever and whenever you visit, it works. You don’t have to shout to be heard, unless you’re sat next to the piano on one of the afternoons when a volunteer pops in to quietly tinkle the ivories.
Who might you expect to see here? All are welcome here; you’ll find a mix of me and my friend (in tracksuits, working out by scoffing the food); mums and kids nursing three brews for three hours and of course the GLAMs (Geriatric, Leisured And Monied) – the seniors brigade who arrive by badly parking their huge four by fours.
How are you being served? By people who believe in the whole ethos of Caring For Life. Smartly dressed waiters/waitresses of all ages and races who are very relaxed and happy to serve you.
“Did I mention the meringues? Massive brain-sized beautiful beasts are a MUST in the food section of the shop. Tongues are regularly wound back every time customers pass.”
What are your top three dishes on the menu? Hummus salad with toasted pitta bread, meringue and any cake!
When and how did you first find this place? When I moved to the area I’d heard of this place but was wary due to the church links. I eventually made it through the door (it was much smaller back then, pre-Granary) and have left all my preconceptions behind ever since. It’s a fine cafe that funds an amazing cause.
Why do you love it so? Crag House Farm has more depth than Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. People see the amazing flagship converted barn and think this place is raking it in. Well it isn’t, and every penny spent there goes into community projects including the two supported homes they run for adults unable to live independently.
The farmland itself runs therapeutic projects; there’s equestrian riding for the disabled; there’s a catering academy where people learn the basics of cooking (I need a slot); the list goes on. It’s a great place and a great cause, what’s not to love. Plus you’re sat in the Granary!
Mates, a soul-mate or solo? Mates: it’s perfect to have a catch up. They also open for evenings for your soul-mate and they hold one-off special evening events such as their monthly jazz night, but book early as they get really busy.
Budget or bank balance busting? Middle of the road, but not overpriced. Absolutely value for money. The food is lovely. The range includes snacks, drinks only, main meals or small plates of main meals #foranybudget. Whatever your beliefs, you definitely won’t feel short-changed after handing over a few quid to fund their team who will be spreading care and support to those in need thanks to you having a cup of tea and a scone. Get visiting.
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Vicky is reintegrating back into society as her children are now in school. She teaches mindfulness to teenagers, wears trainers and paddles through the nonsense of life.