Tucking into Vish and Chips at Leeds' first vegan chippy - review
It was the last Friday of Veganuary and I was struggling.
There are now plenty of options in Leeds for vegans, from curries to noodles to brunch, but everything on offer is a bit - well, healthy.
After a long week I was craving an indulgent treat, some greasy batter, flaky fish and big chunky chips.
Enter, JJ's Vish and Chips, Leeds' first vegan and vegetarian chippy.
The Kirkstall Road takeaway offers completely meat-free versions of classic dishes like fish and chips and 90% of the menu is vegan.
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but JJ's is a proper chippy.
There's a classic chippy counter, neon lights above the menu and a small waiting area with wooden benches.
The only hint that this chippy is entirely fish-free is a seaside mural painted on the counter which reads: "...there's now plenty more fish in the sea."
What's on the menu?
The friendly staff talked me through the aptly-named options. There's the classic Vish and Chips made with banana blossom, which promises to be flaky, while the To-Fish made with tofu has more of a meaty texture.
There's also Kalamari, Scam-Pi, Sosage, Fricken Nuggets, Svam Fritters and Jumbo Bratvurst on offer, classic sides and sauces like fried pickles, mushy peas and curry sauce and 'Little Vishes' for the kids.
For dessert, choose from banana or apple fritters, or battered Oreos.
Now onto the food
My mouth was watering just reading the menu and after 31 days of being vegan I was very tempted to order everything.
Restraining myself, I went for the classic Vish and Chips, a Svam Fritter and a side of mushy peas.
The Vish is battered banana blossom, a 'fleshy' flower which grows at the end of a cluster of bananas and, apparently, it's the perfect substitute for fish.
It was coated in a crispy, salty batter which had a delicious crunch, but I was unsure of the banana blossom itself.
It was so flaky that it just fell apart and didn't taste at all... fishy. It wasn't unpleasant but it was lost in the batter and I wished I had chosen the meatier To-Fish instead.
However, I still polished it off. The crispy batter was delicious and the chips were perfectly cooked, crunchy on the outside but lovely and soft inside.
The Svam Fritter was the real star of this order, it was smokey and meaty and bursting with the flavour that the Vish lacked.
Room for dessert?
I couldn't resist the battered Oreos. They were sickly sweet and drizzled with chocolate sauce and while my housemate turned up her nose in disgust - they were exactly the indulgent treat I had been missing during Veganuary.
Would you return?
Yes, although I wouldn't choose the Vish again there were so many battered treats on the menu that I'd be excited to try. And at £13 for all that food, it's very reasonably priced.
Address: 402a Kirkstall Road, Burley, LS4 2QD
Telephone: 0113 274 1459
Opening hours: 4pm-8pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-2.30pm, 4pm-8pm Friday, 11.30am-8pm Saturday