Leeds Life: Issho

After a busy couple of weeks with both my holiday in Ibiza and my parents holiday (which meant I actually had to work long days!), I finally managed to head across to Leeds at the weekend and check out Issho, a new Japanese restaurant.
Issho is D&D London’s latest opening in Leeds and can be found carefully placed in Victoria Gate, tucked away between the Russell & Bromley and Gant stores. Once you have taken this detour off the main shopping promenade, you’re greeted by an opposing wooden clad staircase that cascades down from the top floor. The spiralling granite stairs reflect the intricate wood panelling, creating a dramatic entrance to the bars and restaurants above.
We arrived for brunch just before 1pm and, whilst waiting for friends to join, grabbed a drink in the Kori bar where the sun was flooding through the big open bi-fold doors. However, after a week in Ibiza, I was (and still am!) on my post holiday alcohol detox so I opted for a very refreshing Elderflower Blossom – a blend of apple and pomegranate with elderflower and lemon – the perfect choice for the scorching hot weather.
Anyway, getting back to the interiors, the bar continues the wooden feel with an imposing long light oak bar which was softened by a white washed wood effect tiled floor and polished concrete walls and ceiling. A section of the ceiling has been recessed and adorned with a monochrome mural which frames the contour of the bar. The charcoal black colour of the mural is used again to decorate both the sections of the pillars and the upholstery of the bar stools, tying the concept together really well.
Running parallel to the bar is the outdoor roof terrace which features squishy sofas and low tables on a light wood decking, with an abundance of palms and maples lining the glass balcony wall. Around the other side of the bar are a handful of black gloss and copper tables and dark coral chairs, which have been are placed along the heather grey upholstered benching to create further seating. This area is softly lit by a selection of different shaped paper lantern style pendent lights.

Having taken in my surroundings whilst sipping my elderflower blossom, the rest of our party had now arrived and so we headed through to the restaurant which continues to follow the same styling of charcoal black, dark coral and light wood. We were seated in the corner booth with a large black wood and cooper oval table.
So far so good, however, from here on there were a couple of the inevitable new restaurant teething problems. There was a little confusion when we attempted to place our order as we had booked in for the brunch set menu but were told this was no longer available! Fortunately the manager kindly said that we could still have the set menu as it was still advertised on the website and so my four friends all opted for this option. I decided to order a few dishes instead of the set menu (as I am fussy and there were items I didn’t like on the set menu) and so I selected the ‘Spicy Pork Bao Bun’, the ‘Maple-Glazed Belly Pork’ and the ‘Steamed Prawn & Salmon Gyoza, White Soy, Mustard’.
After catching up with friends and enjoying the surroundings, the set menu starters soon came flowing out followed by my 3 gyozas served in a griddle pan – all of which tasted amazing and soon devoured. The set menu items kept coming and coming, however 30 minutes later, and feeling a little hungry from just 3 gyozas and watching an amazing selection of food in front of me, I was more than ready for my next dish! After asking one of the staff I was informed that they were on their way, but it was a further 15 minutes and the set menu now consumed before my lonesome 2 dishes arrived. Despite the delay they were both perfectly cooked and tasted amazing (especially to a now VERY hungry Yorkshire man!) and so I can only assume that in the confusion of the set menu, my order got overlooked.
Minor mix up aside, I cannot complain about the staff or the quality of the food as both of these were excellent and I will definitely be returning – especially when my detox is over – so that I can sample the selection of cocktails and the free flowing prosecco (which, in case you aren’t aware,  is also a wonderful compliment to the Crafthouse Sunday lunch!). I would love to hear your experiences of Issho and any food recommendations you have before my next visit!

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