A taste of Japan with Issho
For the longest time, I feel as though Leeds has been calling out for a contemporary Japanese restaurant. I’m talking great sushi (sorry Yo! but you’re hardly haute cuisine), tasting menus and specially selected ingredients from a very talented chef. The latter comes in the form of Ben Orpwood, previously of Zuma and, the restaurant with the greatest name ever, Sexy Fish. Set to launch in Summer with a home in Victoria Gate, the restaurant popped-up in Crafthouse’s private dinning room to give us a taste of what’s to come…
With each course of the tasting menu, multiple plates appeared and a delicious wine pairing. We kicked off with a sparkling Sake, something I’ve never tried before. I had reservations as I’m not a huge Sake fan but this was a lot more delicate and went down far too easily. The first course plates were simple but well done – refreshing Sesame Cucumber, crispy Squid with a dash of lime and Japanese style fried Chicken pieces.
As the next set of plates began to arrive, things started to get interested. I consider myself pretty adventurous when it comes to food, thanks to my pops being so talented and experimental in the kitchen, but I had never tried smoked Dorset Char before (I misheard and was actually expecting the vegetable Chard). The Wasabi dressing had a kick, without being over-powering – an easy mistake to make. Slightly out-shined by the Char, the Tomato and Tofu foam was certainly an usual dish. Not being the biggest fan of either of the hero ingredients, I was surprised at how pleasant the dish was… but I was still reaching over the dish for another sample of Char.
The sushi course arrived in the form of a beautiful tray of nigiri. I was a little apprehensive of the smoked eel as I’m not a huge smoked fish fan but it blew me away and was one of the stand-out menu items of the evening. The salmon and wagyu beef weren’t to shabby either. We ate the sushi with our hands, as is traditional, and chinked out cups of Sake together.
We moved onto Bao Buns (something I was particularly excited for as I’ve been obsessed with them since I reviewed YUU Kitchen) and were presented with a crispy Duck leg to shred and build our buns exactly how we liked them. This was a nice novelty and a great sharer to get people stuck in and socialising. The Scallops were just another way I was blown away by the menu (and the chilies on top)!
The Seabream and Asparagus dishes were lovely but by this point, I was eyeing up the dessert plates on the menu. Whilst I was really looking forward to the frozen Meringue Cheesecake, it was the Crumble with Apple and Sake Sorbet that I couldn’t help but keep nibbling at.
Issho is popping up in Angelica from the 15th to the 18th of May and official opens in Victoria Gate in Summer. I’m beyond excited and counting down to taking more of their sushi menu for a spin.
Ishho, Victoria Gate, LS2 7AU. I was invited to taste and review the menu. All opinions are my own.