The highlights and lowlights of eating and drinking in Leeds this year
Christmas is nearing, bringing with it the greatest gift of all to writers everywhere: easy content in the form of “Best of” lists that can be hammered out while keeping an eye on the mulled wine in the office microwave (You didn’t think every publication puts them out for the readers benefit, did you?) We’re not above that kind of thing here at Confidentials, so here’s our summary of Leeds food & drink in 2017.
We’ve reviewed over 50 restaurants this year, and we’ll be counting down the five which have stood out as the best or most memorable, and also recapping some of the places we’re not in any hurry to revisit next year.
As well as the best and worst, we’re going to be going over the dozens of - let’s be honest, mostly boring - new openings and picking out five which are making Leeds’ food & drink scene a better place than it was this time last year.
We don’t know what 2018 is going to bring, but we’re going to be looking into our crystal ball and making some predictions early in the new year, and we want to know what you’d most like to see in Leeds food & drink in the next 12 months too, so let us know in the comments.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I can hear all of my precious booze evaporating in the microwave...
Best of 2017
5. Ox Club
16/20 - If 2016 was the year Ox Club hit its stride, 2017 is when it started switching up lanes and even a bit of showboating for the crowd, all while maintaining pace. Focused yet creative plates from a diverse team, without losing sight of their founding principal. Full Review
16.5/20 - Globetrotting dishes with understated service and ambience in this “near perfect” expression of smart, casual dining. Full Review
17/20 - A contemporary fine dining restaurant inside a recycled shipping container, foreshadowing the inventive - sometimes bizarre - resourcefulness of the kitchen who produced one the best meals we’ve ever eaten out of an onion, a potato, some white chocolate, and thin air. Full Review
2. Man Behind The Curtain
18/20 - A crowd-pleasing greatest hits set, with a few welcome surprises. We’ll be back to see the new dining room in the new year. Full Review
18/20 - All you need to know about this lunch is that every time a plate of food got put in front of our boss, a miraculous thing happened - he stopped banging on to the team about "evergreen content" or his romantic conquests, or Prof. Harari's Homo Deus, and was struck speechless. If we knew that was going to happen we would've gone for the full 10 courses... Full Review
Worst of 2017
C’mon, who actually enjoys reading about positive experiences in restaurants? Here’s what you actually came for: a thorough roasting of the three worst places we visited this year:
3. Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant
11.5/20 - If we were Gino, we wouldn’t be so quick to claim responsibility for the things that go on here. Still, it absolutely trounced Marco Pierre White’s new gaff in our Celebrity Chef Ciao-down... Full Review
2. Chino Latino
9/20 - Apparently they didn’t get the memo saying that fusion cuisine doesn’t give you permission to serve crab with custard... Full Review
1. Cosmo Luxe
6.5/20 - Having failed to make a successful restaurant out of selling unlimited crap food at a low price, Cosmo went away and came up with a new plan: sell that same unlimited crap food, but for a higher price. At the time of writing, Cosmo Luxe has been “temporarily closed” due to unforeseen circumstances for two months now. Maybe reading our review would’ve helped them foresee it... Full Review
"Here for a good time, not a long time" was our summary of nomadic taqueria Holy Mountain, which turned out to be prescient; their residency as the saviour of Chida Cantina has come to an end this week. We're not sure yet where they'll pop up next or in what form, but these are - no joke - the best tacos Leeds has ever seen, we'd move mountains to get to them. Read: Holy Mountain review
We might have missed the boat on getting a dedicated ramen restaurant in Leeds, but in Issho we've got something even better. Strip away all of the extraneous D&D glamour; at its heart Issho is an excellent grill restaurant, sushi bar, and its chefs table is one of the best seats in the city. They even do their best to fill that ramen-shaped hole in our lives, but only on Mondays. Read: Issho review
This time last year, HOME was a humble supper-club without a permanent, well, home - one month-long residency down, and preparing for another one. This time this year, it's one of Leeds' most celebrated restaurants, both within the city and nationally, picking up reviews in The Guardian, Sunday Times, Olive Magazine, and more - shining a light on Leeds as a food & drink destination, and championing local produce by working with the likes of Harewood Food & Drink Project. Expect big things from the team in 2018.