There's a new chick on the block. Yard & Coop has arrived in Leeds, expanding out of their Deliveroo roots and into the city.
Welcome to the coop. Tuck yourself in off of Merrion Street and follow the pastel pink stairs up to the good stuff. As customary with any new opening of the moment, the decor is on point. A rustic version of a chic vintage living room, complete with cute touches like the pastel Smeg fridge and dress up box under the hairdryers.
The opening of Yard & Coop in Leeds has been drawn out to an extended drum roll. They've been frying up on Deliveroo for a while now earning themselves a fan base, with original plans to open up towards the end of last year. Flash forward some venue issues, finishing touches and rejuvenating the menu for the restaurant and the doors are finally open.
We were invited along to sample some of the good stuff, from the downstairs bar and spiralling up the staircase to the food. Let's see what all of the fuss is about.
I know what you're all here for, so let's get straight to the chicken. Something that is so easy to get wrong or do entirely average has been transformed. The quick review? Yard & Coop has some of the best chicken I've ever tasted. A lightly spiced batter encasing deliciously moist, fall apart chicken. You'll find this at the base of most of their dishes, but the menu has plenty on offer to fit it to your flavour favourites.
Monkey fingers, with a selection of their Bee's Knees sauces. The Dr Pepper barbecue sauce pops up throughout the menu and is a must try for a subtle twist to the usual, same goes for the honey dip. A menu highlight and a great bar snack.
Amaizeballs, deep fried sweetcorn balls. I'd highly recommend these, especially if you've got your hands on more sauce options. All but two of the side dishes are vegetarian and most of the menu can also be subbed with crumbed halloumi.
The menu looks pretty vast, but in essence, it's your pick of the classic buttermilk fried chicken (customised to your taste), chicken burgers or 'large plates' that offer a bit more variety. The one gimmicky item is the 'Massive Cock' burger - more of a food challenge than a main dish and a tongue in cheek too far for me, but if you have the appetite, it sounds like it could be a tasty smothering of sauce across most of the menu, in one dish.
In hindsight, for a first try, I think I ordered wrong - I'm heading back for the bao bun box or more of the burgers that I eyed across the room, but on this occasion I went for the Yakety Wrap; a twisted version of a chicken salad, wrapped up in a tortilla. More delicious fried chicken, wrapped up with the typical salad fill outs, slathered with adobo chilli mayo. Good, but probably not the best way to show off the good stuff.
Still, the night ended on a high as Jennie decided there was still room for dessert, by way of the luxury shakes. There are four or five flavours available, each made with real ice cream and somehow still light. I had a slurp of the salted caramel and it was just my kind of menu closer, save room for one when you try this place.
Bellies and taste buds suitably satisfied, off we headed. The doors are now open and the menu is ready to be devoured. Get a sneak peek on their Instagram and let me know what you think if you head down.