Issho — Leeds, UK
Restaurants in retail malls can be tricky propositions, but it certainly helps the cause that Issho has opened on the roof-top of the newly minted diagrid-formed Victoria Gate. Designed by architectural practice Acme with interiors by Brighton-based DesignLSM, the building is Leed’s latest landmark, an homage to the geodesic silhouettes of Buckminster Fuller and the city’s manufacturing traditions.
Issho’s airy perch is a treat particularly as the weather turns towards summer and patrons start flocking to the al fresco timber-decked patio that’s lined with low-slung furniture and strategically placed potted trees that frame Leeds’s skyline.
The restaurant’s main dining space features a mix of charred timber, oak and porphyry stone. The centrepiece though is the open central kitchen where Zuma and Sexy Fish alum Ben Orpwood’s menu of sharing plates scattered with Yorkshire produce is layered with Japanese inflections, a conceit probably reflected in the restaurant’s name which apparently means ‘together’ in Japanese.
And so, there are lamb cutlets flavoured with barley miso, tomato salad drizzled with tofu cream, smoked beef tartare scented with yuzu, and sweet soy-glazed duck hearts from the robatayaki (or slow grill charcoal) menu.
Meanwhile, the bar offers intriguing oriental fantasy tipples such as a yamazaki highball, and a bellini of lychee liqueur, grapefruit juice and peach bitters.