Iroko – Restaurant Review

We were invited to Iroko for a press preview event, where they were highlighting their Yakitori menu. For full disclosure, we didn’t have to pay for the evening, but no editing or influence has been made on this blog post.

As it was a rare childfree evening, we turned it into date night! To read about the start of my dating adventure, check out this post: http://www.leedsdad.com/parenting/leeds-dad-starts-dating-again/

Food

For the uninitiated (like myself), Yakitori is a Japanese BBQ dining experience, where several small plates of food are brought out one at a time.

I “think” that there were 6 plates all in all. I say think because after a while you do lose track a little bit!! The food was clearly freshly made and amazingly presented.

Starter including seaweed and butternut squash, gently fried
Starter including seaweed and butternut squash, gently fried

Even though the food keeps coming, you didn’t feel overpowered by it all, and you didn’t feel rushed. As you can see, there isn’t much on each plate (the pictures are for both of us) and so if there is a plate that doesn’t appeal, you can easily pass on it.

Tender chicken with tangy flavour
Tender chicken with tangy flavour

Because of the nature of the Yakitori menu, you don’t get a choice on the food, therefore there might be some which you don’t fancy. For us, the duck heart wasn’t the most appealing, but that was psychological, as the food tasted very good.  Clearly, this was not one for vegetarians…

Ox Tongue
Ox Tongue

My particular favourite was the chicken balls right at the end, as you could tell that the quality of the meat was top notch and it tasted really fresh. A lot of the plates had a tangy taste to them, with only a couple being overpowering. (I am such a softie when it comes to spicy food!)

Chicken Balls with egg yolk
Chicken Balls with egg yolk

You are certainly full at the end of the evening, but not uncomfortably full. There wasn’t any dessert on the menu, but you probably need a break before having something sweet!!

Drinks

As I was driving, it was up to Kim to test out the cocktails, which was clearly a hard task! As you can see below, there was an Espresso Martini (£8.50), French 75 (£9) and a Singapore Slinger (£8.50)

Espresso Martini
Espresso Martini
French 75 drink
French 75
Singapore Slinger drink
Singapore Slinger

Given that I was driving, I asked to see what soft drinks they recommended, in the hope of something a bit different.  However, all that was offered was the standard fare, so I went for a small can of coke, for £2.

You also get chilled table water, which is needed as the food certainly carries flavour!

Location

Iroko is located about 100 yards from the Corn Exchange, along Boar Lane in Leeds.  As such, the location is very central for if you want to go out before or after the meal.  However, this also means that car parking can be problematic.  Your best options are either the Trinity car park or the Tetley.  One place which I wouldn’t recommend is the NCP car park near the markets. Chances are that you’ll need to take out a second mortgage to park!!

Is Iroko Child friendly?

Whilst we went on a rare child-free “date night”, clearly I have looked at Iroko as a dad as well. We couldn’t see any high chairs, although there was a nice baby changing unit in the toilet.

Yes, I am that blogger that takes pictures of toilet facilities!

The food on the Yakitori menu is perhaps a little too spicy for pre-teens, but I would recommend picking a couple of small dishes from the taster menu. That way, they can try a couple of different things and there is more of a Western vibe to the menu.

Atmosphere

Iroko is a pretty chilled out place, especially given the fact it is in the middle of Leeds City Centre. We never felt rushed at all and we were so relaxed at the end of the evening.   The Yakitori menu has a 2 hour window and this felt just about right as the food was finished being served after about an hour or so. However, you can chill out and enjoy a drink after the food has finished, before the next sitting starts.

All in all, it is a lovely place to visit, and if the menu appeals to you, you will have a great time.

A chilled out, romantic setting

Iroko also do a number of different themed evenings and so you might find something that is more to your liking on their website.

With plenty of drink selections!

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