Vice & Virtue have made waves in the city since launching back in 2016, and their success story has been as much about their constant evolution as the food itself.
True to form, they are heading towards summer 2019 with a newly-appointed Head Chef, an assortment of seductive dishes and a few cosmetic tweaks.
Jonathan ‘Jono’ Hawthorne is taking over the reigns as Head Chef, and has been busy in the kitchen with his new team crafting a menu that blends the weird with the wonderful, and more unfamiliar flavours with tried and tested Vice classics.
As well as the signature tasting menus that have been responsible for the brands enviable stack of Oliver awards, Vice are also unveiling a brand new a la carte menu. Designed to offer the more casual diner a chance to sample something a little more exotic, these new plates are perfect for those looking for a bite to eat before heading to the theatre or a gig at Leeds Arena.
A la carte culinary highlights include the powerful 10 Day Salt Aged Mackerel, which is balanced perfectly with an elderberry and roscoff dashi. The BBQ Langoustine glazed in Pig Fat is designed to challenge the taste buds with its accompanying calamansi curd and rosehip, whilst the 12 hour Cooked Jowl offers up a symphony of flavours with apple, eel and foraged herbs.
Headliners from the mains section include the Masterstock Duck with shiitake, blossom and daikon and the Pot Roasted Rabbit with root veg, hispi and barley. The Cod Poached in Beurre Noisette is served with fish Milk, bottarga and scallop to create a triumphant seafood dish.
As always, Vice and Virtue will be reserving a selection of exclusive dishes for its signature tasting menu, and the divine Grade Five Wagyu Beef Cooked on a Konro Grill will not disappoint. Served with violet mustard, fermented cabbage and wakame, it offers a taste experience unlike anything else.
Thai Red Curry Parfait
Desserts range from a homely Brown Butter Ice Cream with blackcurrant, sorrel and rapeseed, to the daring Thai Red Curry Parfait with coconut, Alphonso mango and cardamom. The first floor Vice Bar will also have its own signature food menu, with dishes created to complement their stellar cocktail and liquor offering, making it the perfect spot for a post-work pick-me-up.
Founder Luke Downing will still be very much present in his new role as Executive Head Chef, and will continue to oversee the other four restaurants within the Vice portfolio alongside owner and Director of Operations Laura MacLeod.
Luke has also rolled out a condensed 4-day working week for his team, and believes this method is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to managing mental health in the notoriously stressful kitchen environment.
And, while Vice & Virtue is undeniably the groups flagship restaurant, Feed, Dough, Aperitivo and Nineteen are all flourishing in their own right. All the blood sweat and tears that went into launching Feed on Pudsey paid off for Head Chef Jono, as they took home the Best Newcomer gong at the prestigious 2019 Oliver Awards.
Jono has proven himself to be a worthy addition to the Vice team, bringing boundless energy and a never ending stream of new ideas to the kitchen. Trained alongside a number of Michelin-starred chefs around the globe, including Quay in Sydney, Noma in Denmark and The Box Tree in Ilkley, this is a chef of pedigree who can help to move the brand to the next level.
Luke had this to say about the next chapter in the Vice story:
‘’Juggling five very different independent restaurants in one region hasn’t been easy, but I believe we have the strongest team we’ve ever had before and can continue our success story. After seeing what Jono did with Feed, I knew he was the chef I needed to step things up at Vice.’’
‘’Together, we’ve created a range of dishes that make the best of locally sourced and foraged produce, with something for both the staunch foodie or more old school, casual diner to enjoy. I can’t wait to get these new menus out there and see what the people of Yorkshire think to them!’’
Look out for our forthcoming review of the new Vice & Virtue menu, which drops online in the coming weeks!
Words by Jordan Fletcher
Vice & Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU. Tel: 0113 345 0202.