Monday, 9 July 2012

Friends Of Ham, Leeds

You can tell a lot about a culture from their use of language. I remember having a slightly drunken argument with my Spanish cousin about who had a better language. He insisted that Spanish was better because it has a greater vocabulary (it doesn't - English words outnumber Spanish about 2:1). He pointed out that Spanish must be better because it has two words for "olive" (oliva and aceituna). I laughed at him, and pointed out that Spanish doesn't even have a word for toes - in Spanish, toes are los dedos del pie, literally "the fingers of the foot".

Like many drunken arguments, it wasn't resolved on the night, but Rafa's pointing out that the Spanish has a surfeit words relating to food has some merit. He's right about olives, of course, and without bothering to do any research, I'll bet that there are more words for different styles of dried meat in Spanish than any other language. Not only that, they also have words for the accoutrements of food. The device in the picture is a jamonera, basically a stand that holds a leg of jamon steady while it is carved. You don't see many jamoneras in the UK.

Friends of Ham has a jamonera.In fact, it's the one in the picture. It also has great range of really good quality meats and cheeses, Scotch eggs, a great of-the-moment beer list, and a shuffleboard table. I hear they have wine and spirits too, although my beer obsession is such that I genuinely didn't register either.The comestibles all live upstairs, the shuffleboard table is downstairs in the surprisingly large lounge.

The lounge (there's not really another word for it) is really well thought-out, delineated into different areas with different seating, but very open-plan. I'd almost go so far to say as it has a pleasingly gender-neutral feel. It's a bit blokey (a wall of faux book spine wallpaper, scaffoldy shelves) and a bit girlie (cut flowers, candles, nice pillows and cushions - and before you get outraged, yes nice pillows and cushions are a girlie thing). It's great, balanced, a soothing little oasis, made all the better by the surprise of how nice it all is.

In the month that North celebrates its 15th birthday, it's wonderful to see emerge another qualitatively different take on the whole idea of what makes a great bar. Rather than being competition for anyone, Friends of Ham is bringing something unique to the table, adding another option to the Leeds beer scene. Great beer, great eats, great staff, and a great space to do it all in.

Friends of Ham, New Station Street, Leeds.


  1. Those pesky Spaniards, with their meat selection & fingered feet, nearly as bad as those Jammy Yorkshire peeps & their fantastic beer & food establishments... (or should that be Jambon(y) Yorkshire folk?)

  2. You miss out the jamonero - the knife with which to cut the jamón!

  3. Charcuterie AND ale under one roof? This sounds too good to be true.

  4. Dedos del pie? Mmmmmmmmmmm.....pie


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.