Leeds may be a northern powerhouse when it comes to dining out, but a truly great chicken restaurant has so far passed it by…
Hello Yard & Coop, we’ve been expecting you.
Hot on the heels of popular restaurants in Manchester and Liverpool, the Home of Buttermilk Fried Chicken is finally flying into Merrion Street in late February. Boasting a menu packed with legendary mains, mouth-watering sides and the crème de la crème of craft beer and bespoke cocktails, Yard & Coop will take you to buttermilk chicken heaven and back, and leave the Colonel for dust in a pool of tears.
Residing opposite Zaap Thai in the site formerly occupied by Miah’s Kitchen, the foxy 120-cover restaurant will boast a bad boy design as fresh as the chicken itself. The vibe will be cool, and the playlist will be quirky, with an eclectic mix of non-commercial tunes.
The perfect place for evening feasting, or grabbing a cracking £5 lunch deal, Yard & Coop will also be available on Deliveroo and offer a takeaway service for those on the move. An impressive menu of 19 bespoke cocktails (including a dedicated gin selection) is available to both diners and passing party animals looking to whet their whistles.
Farm to fork in 48 hours
So, what is the secret to Yard & Coop’s success story so far? Firstly, all the chicken is sourced from just one Shropshire farm, where quality and ethics go hand-in-hand. Every single bite of chicken goes from farm to fork in just 48 hours, which includes a 24-hour brining process to tenderise the meat.
Secondly, everything is homemade from the sauces to the sides. And no chicken restaurant worth its salt can be without its secret blend of herbs and spices, and Yard & Coop’s meat is coated in no less than 13 key ingredients.
Creating such perfection was a lengthy process, which involved testing over 200 different crumb recipes before the perfect crumb was found. Finally, the meat is cooked in pressure fryers, which gives the chicken a hug and helps to retain moisture and flavour. The end result is a food offering so tasty, you’ll want to keep coming back for more. Amen.
Lord of the wings
The Yard & Coop menu is extensive, and truly takes the versatility of fried chicken to new levels. The build your feast menu allows you to choose your cut of meat, your sauce, with an option to pimp you fries with toppings ranging from homemade chicken gravy to cheese and chip shop curry sauce.
Things get creative over at the Large Plates section, where you can go Winner Winner with chicken breast, buttery mash, Yorkshire pud and gravy. Or feast on the Coop Kebab, which serves up buttermilk thighs on a naan bread with salad, minty buttermilk and kebab sauce.
Burger lovers will be left completely in awe and no doubt satisfied when they catch sight of the Massive Cock. Not for the faint of heart, this gargantuan mega-burger is now on its fourth version, and measuring nearly a foot high, consists of both buttermilk fried breasts and thigh, deep fried delights, fresh toppings and lashings of sauce. Definitely one for those who like a challenge (and a giggle when they order).
All of the rums… And the gins too
Feasting on chicken can be thirsty work, and Yard & Coop have got all bases covered when it comes to finding your favourite poison. The cocktail menu boasts no less than 13 bespoke concoctions, which take classic tipples to new creative heights.
What’s Golden is a rum lovers dream, and blends Wray and Nephew, Mount Gay and Sailor Jerry with lime, pineapple, orange and passionfruit to create an explosive pour designed to knock your socks off. And, because everything tastes better with bacon, the Bacon Bour-Bon Jovi gives the classic Old Fashioned a porky twist that’s hard to resist.
The Gin Gin Gin menu features no less than 6 creations that put mother’s ruin into the spotlight, including the Bulldog Gin and rhubarb liqueur infused Rhu Dogg.
Beer boys (and chicks) have also got plenty to go at, with Yard Pilsner, Paulaner Munich Helles Lager and Flip the Bird IPA on draught, and close to 20 bottled beers that includes Beaver Town, Brooklyn Lager, Delirium Tremens and Lindeman’s Kriek Cherry Beer.
Non-drinkers can choose from a selection of house pop and freshly made Luxury Shakes, which include show-stopping Popcorn, Nutella, Oreo and Bounty flavours.
Yard & Coop was a plan hatched by two friends come business partners, who had a passion for fried chicken and a desire to give this mighty food staple the spotlight it deserves. With a wealth of hospitality experience under their belts, Carl and Laura began crafting a brand that put the staff on the same high pedestal as the food and customers. The new Leeds venue will create in excess of 30 new jobs.
Co-Founder and Director Carl Morris had this to say ahead of the launch:
‘’ Leeds is an amazing city and were extremely excited to bring the Home of Buttermilk Fried Chicken to the people of Yorkshire. We’re all about booze, chicken, good times and we can’t wait to meet everyone.’’
Words by Jordan Fletcher.