Victoria Gate have been promising us restaurants for ages now, I can’t deny I was a tad disappointed when they opened with not much on offer so finnnnallly they’ve given us Issho and East 59th Restaurant! This particular Saturday I was visiting Issho which is on the rooftop for a girlie brunch and it was the perfect day for it. The restaurant has a massive roof terrace overlooking Leeds, covered in greenery; it has a really chilled out vibe and on a sunny Saturday you *almost* feel like you’re on holiday. There is also seating inside but on such a glorious day who would turn down brunch on the terrace? (plus there are lots of big canopies to keep my vampiresque skin protected).
The brunch option at Issho is fairly simple; Bao and Bubbles – but I probably can’t think of a better combo. For 2 hours you have unlimited prosecco (£15 when you’re ordering from the brunch or a la carte menu) and they’ve very generous topping it up; our glass rarely went empty for long.
We opted for the Beef Short Rib (£30) to share among three. It arrives and is shredded at the table served alongside pickles, beetroot salad and bao buns so you can construct your own. The beef was absolutely melt in the mouth delicious, and the richness was perfectly balanced by the sharp pickled cucumber and onions. The buns were plump and fluffy, just sitting on the right side of stodgy. The beetroot salad didn’t even make it into any of the bao, but a nice accompaniment – really who can resist a salad which features pork crackling? Additional bao and salad are on offer but I would say that anticipate how many buns you might want and order ahead as it took a little while for our second lot to arrive.
Along with the bao we went for a few dishes from the a la carte menu; the Chicken Wings (£4), Salmon Teriyaki (£15.90) and the Corn with Lime Butter (£5). The salmon was buttery soft and the teriyaki was well balanced, not sugary sweet like you find in a lot of places – definitely a good healthy option. The corn was my absolute favourite – do me a favour and order it. Tasting just off the BBQ, it’s topped with a smoked lime butter which is so moorish. I didn’t have any chicken in favour of the corn but heard appreciative noises from across the table.
Obviously a boozy brunch wouldn’t be complete without dessert so we ordered the Cinnamon Doughnuts with Chocolate Ganache and Yuzu Curd (£5), the Peach Nilar (£6.50) and the Caramelised Banana Rice Pudding (£7). I have to say that Issho absolutely knocks it out the park with puddings. The doughnuts were light and fluffy; and mixing the chocolate and ponzu together is a revelation – if you’ve never had ponzu before it’s a citrus sauce usually served with savoury food but in this instance worked perfectly with the sweet. The Caramelised Banana Rice Pudding was a favourite of Ally & Emma’s; so rich and creamy, it’s almost definitely one to share and a proper comfort pudding like grandma used to make. My favourite was the Peach Nilar, oh my what a beaut. Peach sorbet, peach, white chocolate mousse and a cookie – just as indulgent as it sounds and the perfect accompaniment to a crisp glass of fizz.
So was Issho worth the wait? Absolutely! The food was all delicious, the service very nearly faultless and being out on the terrace really does feel like you’re away from it all. I’d be interested to visit on a rainy Tuesday evening to see if it still had a vibe I love (fizz + sunshine is always going to be a winner) but for now, Issho is very firmly up there with one of my favourite spots in Leeds.
This meal was complimentary, views are my own though.