I first got into sushi when living down in London, where the competition to have ‘the best sushi in town’ is fierce. Because of this, you could stay my standards started pretty high. Ever since moving back up north, I’ve been on a quest to find the best sushi in Leeds, and I’m pretty sure I have found it. I was incredibly excited about the opening of Issho last year, partly as the restaurant group behind it is D&D London. Last weekend I returned to Issho on behalf of Bookatable.com to sample their a la carte menu for the first time. Here’s my a la carte restaurant review of Issho in Leeds’ stylish Victoria Gate.
Our reservation had been made for 7pm on Friday night and all day I had been fantasising about the (hopefully) delicious sushi that was waiting for me that evening. As I’m currently pregnant, it meant that the raw nigiri and sashimi would be off limits for me, but Issho has some delicious options with cooked seafood too. This means that if you’re pregnant, new to sushi or simply dislike raw seafood, you’ll still be well catered for at Issho.
After a very smooth welcome by the front-of-house staff, we were shown to our table in the main restaurant area. I loved the stylish decor, statement lighting and open kitchen (which was already bustling with chefs at work). There’s something about seeing an open kitchen in a restaurant that instantly makes me trust it more. We had a great table right by a window (perfect for photographing all the food).
We kicked off our evening with a couple of drinks from the cocktail menu. I opted for an Elderflower Blossom mocktail and Scott chose an Old Fashioned. Our server was really helpful and offered to suggest cocktails for us based on our favourite spirit. The drinks did take a little while to come, but were great when they arrived.
We were also pretty hungry, so decided to order some pre-dinner snacks straight away. We always go for steamed and salted edemame beans, and also decided to try the intriguing pea guacamole with asian crackers. Both arrived at our table in good time. The crackers were like artistic, super-thin prawn crackers with black seeds to give an added texture. Dipping them into the pea guac was a delight, and a nice balance of salty, fresh and citrus flavours. There must have been some lime in the guac.
Despite already studying Issho’s a la carte menu online earlier that day, I gave it another perusal as we nibbled on our ‘starters’. Our server came over and offered a bit of advice about the menu, explaining that the dishes were made to be shared in a tapas style, and came out as and when they were ready. I love this style of dining as it means the experience lasts for much longer compared to just having one or two courses.
I was most looking forward to trying the sushi, for which we ordered the Dragon Roll (tiger prawn tempura, avocado and spicy mayo) and the Spider Roll (soft shell crab, wasabi mayo and cucumber). Both rolls were beautifully presented on a long plate which looked like a work of art. Garnished with wasabi and ginger, it was a sushi platter of dreams and could have rivalled any of my favourite London sushi joints. Now for the taste test.
Both sushi rolls tasted phenomenal. The rice was the perfect balance between sticky and firm and the fillings were so fresh. It was clear the rolls are made to order. Along with a good dunking of soy sauce, the flavours were exactly what my fussy pregnant taste buds were craving. It’s definitely the best sushi in Leeds I’ve ever had.
We also ordered the chicken yakitori, which came on two skewers. The meat had been wonderfully glazed and grilled to perfection alongside some spring onion, but the dish was on the small side.
Our final dish of choice was the duck leg confit which came with four bao buns, pickled cucumber and spicy sauce (although it was more similar to hoisin sauce). The duck leg is a real visual showstopper and was presented at our table whole, before being expertly shredded by the waitress. The duck pulled apart with ease and the crispy skin looked so appetising. This is a great alternative for anyone who enjoyed peking duck. It’s also likely to be some of the best duck you’ve ever tasted.
We stuffed the fluffy, sweet bao buns full with the shredded duck and spicy sauce, which rounded off the meal incredibly well. Although the duck was fantastic, the stand-out hero of the meal was definitely the sushi and I only wished I had ordered more of it. The meal was rounded off with some fresh mint tea which was served in a beautiful Japanese teapot and ceramic cups. As with the cocktails, the tea took a bit too long to arrive at our table, but overall I would still say the service is very good here.
I’m so happy to have a restaurant like Issho right on my doorstep, and now I have sampled some highlights from the a la carte menu, I will definitely be back for more of the best sushi in Leeds.
Fancy trying Issho for yourself? Browse availability and book a table for Issho via bookatable.com
Are you a sushi lover or are you currently searching for the best sushi in Leeds? If you enjoyed this foodie post then please leave a comment below. Jess x
This blog post has been sponsored in collaboration with bookatable.com. As always, all words, opinions and images are my own.