There may be thousands of people working in businesses around Harrogate town centre, but it is widely felt that the opportunities for a good lunch are strangely few and far between.
Unless you want to sit in at one of the many great independent cafes in Harrogate, you might be forgiven for thinking the only option was a packet sandwich from a high street chain.
Fear not, however – Baltzersen’s is here to tell you hard workers about the best sandwiches in Harrogate! And while we’re on the subject, we have a little announcement of our own…
Yes, the rumours are true. We are now selling a selection of sandwiches to take out, all made daily in our kitchen! We’re starting off with three choices: ham and cheese with salsa verde, mackerel pate with gooseberry chutney, and smashed avocado with chickpeas, sundried tomato and chilli – and that last one is vegan, too.
Mary-Jane will be changing up the menu regularly to keep things interesting, so make sure you pop in on your lunch break to see what’s new. We’re keeping the prices even at £4 per sandwich (though we can’t be held responsible if you feel the need to add a coffee or a cinnamon bun to your order…).
Let us know what you think of the new sandwiches and whether there’s anything else you’d like to see included in the range. Just comment below, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email.
Bib and Tucker
Bib and Tucker on the corner of Station Parade and James Street is one of Harrogate’s lunchtime stalwarts and has been serving up tasty meals and snacks to hungry locals for almost 10 years. Ian Kendrew and manager Will Dale Rushton are always adapting their menu to offer shoppers and workers the latest food trends. Their toasted flatbreads are a specialty with their bestseller being the Mexicana, a melting mix of spicy chicken, cheese, vegetables, jalapeno and fresh coriander.
On the menu, you’ll find a good range of sandwich options, with some creative combinations and suggestions that make Bib and Tucker stand out from the crowd. They also offer soups and hotpots which go down particularly well when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
As well as offering customers a wide choice, including vegetarian and gluten free lunches and outside catering, Bib and Tucker prides itself on its friendly atmosphere. Cassie Reynold-Ajari, who is front of house, says she loves feeling part of the community and chatting to the regulars. There are always a couple of people available to make sandwiches over the busy lunchtime rush so that people are served quickly, which is particularly important when they’re dashing back to work.
Everything is made fresh to order and if someone wants something that isn’t on the menu, the team will happily make it for them. Bib and Tucker is also planning to expand its range of cakes in the coming months to meet a growing demand from its customers for something sweet after lunch. The range will include more gluten free options, which will no doubt go down well with customers who are on a restricted diet.
You might not be able to find a farm in central Harrogate, but you can certainly find a farmer’s kitchen. Along with their daughter Grace, Andrew and Vanora Pearson opened Farm Bistro in Beulah Street last October with a simple aim: to bring their farmhouse-style food to their customers. From a spiced-up take on traditional scambled eggs on toast to comforting porridge, hearty fish pie or a healthy nut and grain salad, the menu covers almost all tastes. It aims to bring familiar home-cooked food up to date with a creative twist – along with top quality ingredients.
Andrew is very careful when choosing suppliers and has established a network of trusted farmers and producers. He uses J G Bellerby in Killinghall for dairy, while Ian Taylor supplies his eggs and pork. Beef comes from a farm near Pocklington and he uses butcher John Audsley for anything else he needs – though he also butchers some of the animals in house to ensure his chefs get what they want. Fruit and veg comes from Lowther’s just a few doors up the road, and even the lager is local, supplied by Daleside and Roosters.
When Andrew says he supports local, independent businesses, he means it – he wants to know exactly where his supplies have come from and how the animals have been reared. He visits the farms himself to be certain, and he’s more than happy to talk to his customers about what he has found.
This is a man who really knows what he’s talking about. His background is in agriculture, and Vanora and Grace spend long hours working to bring their homely, farmhouse-style cooking to the bistro. As the business has grown, they have had to get more help and now employ a pastry chef, but the ethos of the business has never changed.
If you have time to stop for a coffee or something to eat, the upstairs cafe area is charming. Andrew has filled it with memories of his childhood, when he was one of six boys being raised by a single father who fed his sons with whatever he could grow in the garden and allotment. They may have thought of themselves as poor at the time, but Andrew now reflects on this as a privileged and healthy upbringing: anything they ate was created at home from ingredients they grew themselves.
There are signs of Andrew’s country upbringing all around the room – and some are very subtle. He remembers looking out of his bedroom window to see the multi-coloured fence around the allotment, painted with left-overs of anything used to decorate the house. The same colourful decoration can be seen around the windows in Farm Bistro.
When it comes to lunch on the go, there are some great choices here – all created each morning by Vanora in the kitchen. From quiches and salads to hand-made sourdough bread (which sells out every day, so get there early if you want to try it), there is plenty on offer. Don’t forget to grab one of their mouthwatering cakes to keep you going through the afternoon.
Independent family-run business Le Gourmet has been established in Harrogate for 30 years, but it’s a new kid on the town centre block. It opened in the former Wot’s Cooking premises next to the Victoria Shopping Centre last month, and its lunchtime offering is already proving popular.
It sells a range of delicious filled baguettes made fresh in the shop every morning, quiches, pork pies, patés, Dumouchel artisan bread, and toasted ham and cheese croissants – plus their lunchtime best-seller, the Croque Monsieur. They also offer pork pies and sausage rolls made by local butcher Kendall’s. And for a sweet treat there’s a variety of Le Gourmet-made French patisseries, which you can accompany with a cup of great quality, freshly ground coffee, as well as gluten free brownies – including a banana, caramel and toffee one – which are made by another independent local business, Brown and Blond. They also sell a range of hearty Wot’s Cooking gourmet ready meals to make sure you won’t go hungry at teatime either!
Le Gourmet was previously based on King’s Road, selling patisseries, sandwiches and ready meals for a decade. The move to the town centre was prompted by the desire for a change of scene and, after breaking even in their first week, things have just got better and better. Such a promising start illustrates, perhaps, the need for more take-out lunch choices in the town centre. Owner Ben Mingam has lots of ideas that he’s hoping to develop over the coming months, including setting up an outdoor seating area over the summer. Le Gourmet is also taking part in the Victoria Centre’s ‘Victoria Kitchen’ foodie event on June 4 and 5, offering 10% off in-store orders upon presentation of the event’s flyer.
Le Gourmet was launched in 1986 by Ben’s dad Michel Mingam, a classically trained French chef. The business was originally based on Claro Business Park and supplied desserts and patisseries to trade. Michel was a self-taught patisserie chef and was often joined by a young Ben who had a passion for being in the kitchen. Ben joined the business about 20 years ago and has now taken over from Michel, although Michel still makes all Le Gourmet’s patisseries.
Le Gourmet uses local, independent suppliers where possible, such as Regal Fruiterers for fruit and veg, Ramus for fish, Sykes House Farm for meat, and Bellerby’s for dairy. Ben thinks indies provide a general level of quality because they care what they’re doing, and they’re more invested in their business and the area. And they work with other local indies, too, supplying tartlets, frittatas and quiches to Weeton’s, and puddings to Le D2 and the Italian Connection.