It Bar, Leeds – Restaurant Review
It Bar, Leeds
by Rebecca Tredget
You might notice that there’s an area of Leeds city centre that’s on the boom. Just up from New Briggate a pocket of bars and eateries have popped up over the past year or so and the area is now the central focus for a lot of people’s nights out. It Bar falls neatly into the centre of this, on the corner of Merrion Street and New Briggate. It’s a casual place, selling homely American-style food. There are big slouchy sofas, brickwork and lots of people coming in and out, some to eat and some to drink. It’s not strictly a restaurant or a bar – really, it’s a bit of both.
We decide to have a night on the cocktails (£7, premium cocktails are £7.50), especially as they were 2-4-1 (it always is Sun-Fri 5-9pm). We start off with a Tom Collins and a Banana Daiquiri which are a tad watery and lack real flavour. But we decide to give them a second chance and go for another round with an Amaretto Sour and my date has a Singapore Sling. They are much, much better and definitely a bargain at 2-4-1.
Although the menu doesn’t strictly have ‘starters’ we want to try a few different things. So we order a couple of dishes from the ‘It’s A Quick Fix’ section of the menu. We plump for the Chenga (£5.95) and the Mountain a la Tortilla (£4.95). The Chenga is a stack of fried chicken goujons with a selection of dips. I’m not overly excited about it, but it was my date’s choice. But I am forced to take it all back. The chicken is delicious, moist and tender with a great flavour running throughout.
“The burger really is a sight to behold”
The Mountain a la Tortilla is, indeed, a mountain of tortilla chips. It’s served with cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos, all which have great flavour. Alhough I definitely think there could be more topping, especially considering how many tortilla chips there are. Be warned – portions are not small and we are already feeling full. I almost regret having the starters, especially after the staff joke about how big the mains are.
I go for the In-Side-Out AKA Juicy Lucy Burger (£9.49) and my date goes for the Beef on Wall Street (£10.49). And yes, they are huge! No really, I could have happily eat half and still be completely sated. My Juicy Lucy Burger is a rich, meaty 8oz patty filled with molten cheddar cheese. Dirty eating at its finest. It sits on a lovely brioche bun and is piled high with gherkins, bacon, caramelised onions and even more cheese. It really is a sight to behold. Absolutely delicious, though one tiny criticism would be that I do prefer a toasted bun.
“Unusual offerings on the menu”
My date’s Beef on Wall Street is again a fantastic 8oz patty. However, his is topped with pastrami, corned beef, slaw and Swiss cheese-all served in a bagel. I don’t try any of his (too busy trying to finish my own) however he surprisingly manages to demolish it despite the huge size. Both burgers also come with a pot of fries which are very tasty; piping hot, crunchy and perfectly seasoned. It Bar doesn’t do a huge amount in the way of desserts, so we skip this course. But if you manage to finish a whole main course and fit in a dessert you deserve a medal.
My favourite thing about It Bar Leeds is the unusual offerings on the menu, especially the burgers. They’re topped with everything from mac n cheese to grilled pineapple. Perfect if you’re looking for a little twist on what you usually find. It doesn’t just stop at burgers though. I’m very keen to go back and try the rack of ribs and basket of fried chicken. It Bar is definitely worth a visit, whether it’s for a drink or for some food. But prepare to roll out!
It Bar, 57-59 New Briggate, LS2 8JD
Open Sun-Wed 12 noon-12am, Thursday 12 noon-2am, Fri & Sat 12 noon-2.30am
Food served 12 noon-9pm everyday
Wednesday – Acoustic sessions with live acts from 8pm
Friday and Saturday – DJs spinning funk, rock ‘n’ roll, indie and soul from 9pm (241 Cocktails and Beers from 9-close)
2-4-1 Cocktails and Beers Sun-Fri 5pm-9pm
Editor’s Update: Since this review It Bar has closed. New burger bar, with new owners, Rum and Reason now occupies the space.