Written by Justine Brooks

Food

Eat Here, Love: Ira B’s

In our continuing series saluting the loveliness of places where we love to scoff when we’re out of the house, Justine Brooks introduces her favourite.

schnitzel and chicken soup
Name
: Justine Brooks

I recommend you Eat Here, Love: Ira B’s

Address: Chelwood Drive, Leeds LS8 2AT.

Is it a restaurant, cafe, bistro, takeaway, drive thru, chippy, roadside van or motorway services? Ira B’s is Leeds’ first and only Jewish cafe and snack bar.

What kind of food do they serve? Ira B’s serves the ultimate in Jewish favourites: hot salt beef sandwiches on rye (aka The Grobber), fried fish, chopped liver, amazing potato salad and of course, chicken soup.

Also eggy bread, dippy eggs and delicious desserts like New York baked cheesecake, chocolate brownies and Belgian waffles with syrup. Not to mention ice cream floats, milkshakes AND there’s an ice cream bar where they’ll happily rustle up knickerbocker glories and banana splits for you.

Paint us a picture: The bold black and white exterior opens up to an industrial themed interior with a witty, off the wall and cheekily irreverent twist. Perhaps this is what they call chutzpah.

There are lots of humorous signs, posters and mementos, making the place feel kind of loud and proud.

Mission statement: Classic Food Bonkers Mood. Which probably says it all…

What’s the scoffing soundtrack you’ll hear, here? Pop music from any era or whatever Ira’s listening to. If she really likes a song or album it might be on repeat… You can make requests too.

Who might you expect to see here? Everyone you’ve ever met in north Leeds – with their entire family.

How are you being served? The service is super friendly; you’ll always have a chat with whoever’s serving. If Ira’s in she might send out samples from the kitchen. There’s a generous kind of vibe.

What are your top three dishes on the menu? You can’t come here and not eat chicken soup. It really is the most comforting dish imaginable. It’s served in a red enamelware mug (or a pan if you’re really going for it) and laden with flower shaped carrot slices, noodles and a delicious dumpling.

Also the chicken schnitzel is amazing, although Ira B’s is probably most famous for its enormous salt beef sandwiches. Followed by New York baked cheesecake – if you have any room left.

At the weekends come for brunch: bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese to die for.

When and how did you first find this place? I used to live on this street and so it was pretty exciting when Ira B’s turned up a few years back. In the first week I went for a piece of cheesecake and have been coming back for more ever since.

interior shot
Why do you love it so?
Ira B’s is all about the inimitable Ira B Silverman, caterer extraordinaire, who has catered for north Leeds’ special occasions for the last 30 years.

Ira seems to know everyone who walks through the door. This place exudes her wonderful personality, joy of food and generous nature.

The food is simple and always top standard. Plus, it’s a nurturing sort of place – a visit to Ira B’s always cheers me up.

What’s the best meal you’ve had here? My daughter had a birthday lunch here a few years ago with my parents and her godmother. They made a real fuss and even let us bring our own cake.

Mates, a soul-mate or solo? You could bring anyone here: I’ve brought, friends, family, clients, colleagues. But most of all it’s my daughter’s and my special place where we get chicken soup and chat.

Budget or bank balance busting? £20 for lunch for two…

Visit www.ira-bs.co.uk to get excited about your next scoff-worthy stop in Leeds.

Discover more of our writers’ top grub spots here.

@ira_bs
@JustineFBrooks

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Written by Justine Brooks

Justine lives in beautiful north Leeds with her 12-year-old daughter and a lurcher called Lionel. She runs a PR and marketing agency and is writing a novel.