Blue Pavilion, Leeds – Restaurant Review

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

By Steve Crabtree, March 2024

On a Tuesday evening after work, there’s an abundance of restaurants in Leeds offering cuisine from all corners of the globe. It’s one of the things the city is great for, and what we Yorkshire folk love about it. There’s no doubt that’s the reason why new eateries are forever popping up in the city centre, and a little further afield.  In fact, I’d say we’re a bit spoilt.

Blue Pavilion opened in the last quarter of 2023, as a relation to the well-talked-about, hugely popular Blue Sakura.  So, being fans of oriental food, my wife and I jumped at the chance of being invited to try their Dinner Tasting Menu.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“Modern twist on the traditional”

If you haven’t been yet, Blue Pavilion can’t be missed. As you get to the corner of Merrion Street and Woodhouse Lane, it sits there as a pretty imposing location. Dark signage with bold gold writing – it absolutely dominates the junction.

So, we found it quite easily! And as we wandered up to the door, it slid open and we were greeted at reception by a very friendly hostess. She took our names and guided us into the restaurant and through to our table.  The promise of premium oriental dining was on offer to us, and our first impressions of the place were something else.

The interior of Blue Pavilion is a sleek and modern twist on the traditional oriental restaurant. With lots of shine, the place is decked with hanging cherry blossoms, lantern lights and Chinese zodiac statues. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream, and the bar to the left of the restaurant as you walk in makes a statement too. Marble, and with a huge drinks selection; cocktails, a variety of wines, champagne, beers, spirits, whiskey and sake. This place was oozing with finesse and choice, and we felt very pleased to be here.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review


Tonight, my wife and I were in for the Dinner Tasting menu.  At £48 per person, it’s a menu that’s available between Sunday and Thursday for parties of two or more. With it, you get a choice of small plates, main courses and desserts, and we really liked the look of what was on offer.

What I like about the menu is that you get a small number of options to choose from. This gives you enough variety, but helps you make your mind up quite easily too.

We decided to kick our night off with the Special Dim Sum Platter. That choice gave us two Iberico Siu Mai, Iberico Xiao Long Bao, Black Gold King Prawn Ha Gau and Yuanbao Scallop Dumplings with XO Sauce to share.  We also ordered a portion of Crispy Salt and Pepper squid to go alongside.

For our main course, we plumped for Taiwanese Sanbei Chicken and Fillet Steak in Mongolian sauce.  And we picked the Tenderstem Broccoli in Garlic and Ginger sauce, Fried rice and steamed jasmine rice for our sides.

Blue Pavilion have very, very pleasant waiters and waitresses too, with welcoming smiles, and cheerful conversation. Taking our order, they told us a little bit about the options in our starter, and they made sure we knew what we were about to eat. Their levels of service really made a nice contribution to our night. We were made to feel so welcome, in a very non-intrusive way.

With food ordered, we sat back, enjoying our Pear Juice and Cranberry Juice (£3 per bottle) which was quite refreshing, and waited for our food to come.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“Quite special”

When our starters arrived, the level of presentation was quite special. Handed over in a small wooden box, our eyes opened wide when our server lifted the lid, revealing an impressive selection of matching pieces of food.

Eight bite-sized pieces of edible art were in front of us.  We couldn’t wait to tuck in. It was a shame to spoil the look of the platter by devouring it, but it had to be done – and we’re glad we did.

The Iberico Xiao Long Bao had a lovely, tacky dumpling texture to it, with a tasty and tender pork centre. A very succulent piece of food, and I think this was our favourite option on the platter. Prawns are somehow involved in the other bites, and they’d all been cooked very well too. All the delicacies were very nice, with a special shout-out going to the Yuanboa Scallop Dumpling.

At the side of all this was a mountain of Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid. These were more for my pallet than that of my other half, as squid is never on her food radar, but it’s always on mine.  The portion was more than generous, so much so that I kept this at the table and nibbled through this throughout our entire meal. I have to say, this was delicious too.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“A lovely atmosphere”

With our first course nicely finished, and tables filling up throughout the restaurant making for a lovely atmosphere, we didn’t have long to wait for the main dishes to be brought to our table.

As we’d started the night sharing, we decided to share our main courses too. And when they arrived they looked incredible, but we couldn’t wait to indulge.

We had a number of dishes in front of us. A large bowl of Taiwanese Senbei Chicken, and another bowl of thickly cut Fillet Steak with Mongolian sauce. We had a well-prepared dish of tenderstem broccoli, and two bowls of rice.

We took small selections of the main dishes to begin with, and the chicken was lovely.  It was very soft and light, and flavoursome too. The hints of sesame oil, together with the rice wine, garlic and ginger gave the dish a subtle, pleasant taste.  And, although we did try our best, we weren’t the greatest at enjoying the dish with the chopsticks! We had to resort to the trusty knives and forks provided for that.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“Tender and succulent”

The Fillet Steak was very well cooked. And the Mongolian sauce was the nicest accompaniment. A hint of garlic and soy in this meant that there was more packed flavour in every bite. There were mushrooms in the dish (Shimeji, i think?) but they didn’t infuse into the sauce. That suited my wife, who doesn’t like mushrooms, and it suited me too. I had them all to myself!

Like our chicken, the steak was tender and succulent.  As you’d expect, there’s a slightly broader taste to the sauce with this one, but nonetheless – a lovely dish.

As for the rice and the broccoli, they were well prepared too.  The broccoli went well with the steak and the chicken, and it was nice to have that on the side.

With our stomachs nicely treated to some very tasty food, we both had enough room left for dessert.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“Exciting on the tastebuds”

When our plates were cleared away, we were given a few minutes to relax and cast our eyes over the dessert menu.

Now, you don’t get a standard offering of desserts here at Blue Pavilion.  You’re offered more art on a plate, and something that intrigues as much as tastes good. I could easily have opted for any of them on the list. But my wife decided she’d like the Rhubarb Strawberry Compote, and I went for the Cashew Nut Mango Beancurd Skin.

We did have a little wait for our final plates to come, but it was obvious why when they were presented to us.  In front of me was a very elegant dessert, with mango within rolls of beancurd skin, and a dried pineapple flower on top.  Taste-wise, this was cool and fresh, and only very subtly sweet.  Nothing sickly, but nice and light, and the perfect way to round off my meal.

Across the table, the other half had clearly won the evening with her choice.  Presented to her on a box which, when hot water was added, turned into an exciting smoke-filled geometric chocolate, strawberry and rhubarb delight. I was told (as I wasn’t allowed any) that this dessert was perfection on a plate, and was as exciting on the tastebuds as it was on the eye.

Blue Pavilion, Leeds - Restaurant Review

“Every member of staff stopped to smile”

After polishing off every bit of our third course, it was time to say our goodbyes and leave.  Our waiting staff had taken real good care of us, but as we walked out every member of staff stopped to smile, say thank you, and wish us a nice evening.  I think this is very much straight from oriental culture, but we could do with more of that in other places.  That alone makes you want to return, but the food at Blue Pavilion definitely made its mark on us.

A very nice evening in a very lovely restaurant.  Great food, great service and a definite hope of returning again in the very near future.

Blue Pavilion, 90 Merrion St, Leeds LS2 8LW

Mon – Thu 12–3 pm, 4–11 pm
Fri – Sat 12–3 pm, 4 pm–12 am
Sun – 12–3 pm, 4–10 pm


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