Whilst new restaurants in Leeds seem to be ten a penny these days, D&D London’s latest venture promises to add something new to the city’s wildly diverse dining scene. Issho (Japanese for ‘together’) is set to open on the 21st of June, and will reside in a stunning rooftop location above the new £165m Victoria Gate development. I dropped into sister restaurant, Angelicas, to sample Issho’s food offering at their recent pop-up preview.
When I first glanced at the menu, I was relieved to see a wide range of dishes. I often find sushi quite bland, and still can’t help but associate it with Patrick Bateman and 80’s yuppies, however, there was plenty here to satisfy most diners.
And, it turns out that this was down to Issho bagging Ben Orpwood as head chef. Having previously worked his magic for Knightsbridge-based Zuma, and Mayfair’s Sexy Fish, this is the guy you need to hire if you want your restaurant to have the kind of wow factor that gets the jet set talking.
We arrived to find Angelica’s buzzing as always, and were promptly offered a glass of sparkling sake on arrival. If you love prosecco or champagne, then I recommend you try it. With its low ABV (around 5%), it’s sweet, off dry and the perfect aperitif tipple.
To begin, we ordered the Crackers with Pea Gauc, and the Spicy Edamame from the snack section, which also featured two other tempting dishes (Crispy Squid with Lime and Butter Milk Chicken Karraage).
Both were incredibly tasty, but light enough to leave room for mains. The concept here is to order several dishes to share, and so we tried to pick a variety from the seven different sections. The Sushi and Sashimi Platter was first up, and any reservations I had about this dish soon disappeared.
And, whilst I didn’t quite have an American Psycho ‘Dorsia’ moment, I kind of got where Patrick and his narcissistic chums were coming from. Done right, sushi and sashimi is really, really good.
From the Raw section, we picked the Smoked Beef Tar Tar which came with Yuzu Koshu seasoning, and a Beetroot Salad with Sesame Ponzu and Pork Crackling. The salad was surprisingly flavoursome, whereas the smoked beef was okay, but not something I’d rush back for.
Then came my top three choices of the night. The Bao Buns with Confit Duck, Pickled Cucumber and Spicy Sauce was very much a posh crispy duck with pancakes, but that’s not a bad thing. The duck fell of the bone, and went perfectly with the white, fluffy bao buns and sauce – a definite must-have again type of dish.
I’d been looking forward to the Rump Cap from the Robata (barbecue) section the most, and was not left disappointed. Cooked medium rare, and served with Wafu Sauce, it was an absolute winner, and nicely complimented by the bottle of Finca La Florencia Malbec we were enjoying alongside it.
The Beef Fillet with Smoked Chilli completed my top trio, with my only regret being that we’d not ordered two of these. Cooked robatayaki style (slow-grilled over hot charcoal), the fillet was pure melt-in-the-mouth.
The only real disappointment of the evening came from the Chicken Wings with Salt and Lime, which just didn’t pack enough flavour for me. However, this was soon rectified by the unusual, yet brilliant, dessert.
The Chilled Yorkshire Raspberry Crumble with Granny Smith and Sake Sorbet was so refreshing and moreish, and gave a nice nod to the local area. We finished the evening with some Espressos, and left very full, with our eyes opened to something very different from anything else you’ll find in the city.
Issho was a triumph, and as the pop-up featured just half of the full menu, the people of Leeds are in for a real treat when the rest is unveiled. Lookout for another review coming soon, when this gem of a restaurant makes its full-blown debut.
Victoria Gate, Leeds, LS2 7AU
Written by Jordan Fletcher