Restaurant review: Mojo, Leeds

Mojo, Merrion Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Mojo, Merrion Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Everything seems to have changed around long-serving Leeds bar Mojo.

The city’s newly-branded Northern Quarter has been completely transformed in recent years from a niche bar scene, sitting alongside derelict nightclubs, to a thriving district full of variety.

Mojo, Merrion Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Mojo, Merrion Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Meanwhile for more than a decade and a half, through thick and thin, pioneering independent bar Mojo has been a mainstay.

The Merrion Street trend-setter is still held in high regard and the pedestrianisation of what was once a grubby rat-run has created a new opportunity.

Mojo has jumped at the chance of adding to the street’s new cosmopolitan vibe by claiming its rightful beer garden space, setting out some tables and investing time and effort in a new food menu.

Inside, the venue’s low lit interior is still full of framed posters, gig tickets and record covers – and of course the rock, indie and Motown soundtrack – are still going strong.

But aside from great music and the bar’s renowned cocktails, we ventured by to see whether the food offering is another reason to love a venue that has proven an old friend to many.

The menu centres around pretty chunky American diner-style food, with chicken wings, handmade burgers, sandwiches and fries dominating. Mains start at around £6.

There are some pretty quirky choices if you’re wanting to push the boat out. The Marmite glazed chicken wings, mac and cheese burger and pig cheek nuggets certainly jump out.

Appetisers and sides such as nachos, tayto tots, sweet potato fries and onion rings also feature, while you can order churros or brownies for dessert.

Taking a chair outside, I opted for The BBQ burger (£8.40). The 200 gram beef burger came topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and a small helping of barbecue sauce on a brioche bun although it did not come with fries.

My dining partner went for the Chicken Box, which consisted of fried chicken wings and seasoned fries. We also bought spiced slaw (£2.60).

The burger itself was moist and succulent. The well-cooked bacon combined well with the wealth of toppings and the chilli mayo and sour cream dips proved the perfect addition.

The chicken box was buxom but not spectacular, with the wings slightly overdone and dry although the seasoned fries made up for that somewhat.

With the addition of cans of Caple Road cider and Brooklyn beer, the bill came to £27.40.

Our food was well-presented, full of character and on the whole tasty but it probably didn’t quite justify the pricetag.

Mojo is an old favourite with a new string to its bow.