East 59th at Victoria Gate Leeds review: Instagram-friendly but questions over flavour
I booked East 59th in Victoria Gate after my partner spotted it on Instagram. Make of that what you will, but with a roof terrace that looks over Leeds Kirkgate Market and a sprawling mock-floral ceiling feature, this Manhattan-inspired restaurant and bar is justifiably ripe for social media's most visual of platforms.
Basically, it looked fun, so we wondered whether the food was just as memorable.
The a la carte menu we chose from was fairly small and select, which suggests to me that a place is confident about what it's serving.
Lobster and seafood features heavily on the menu, there is an 'eggs all day' section to pick from and classic such as cheeseburgers, steaks and salads are included too.
To start, we shared an appetiser of soft shell crab with a tempura coating and Sriracha mayo. This was tasty, but in a large part due to the crispness and the condiment rather than the crab itself, which lacked flavour.
For our mains, my partner ordered the Tiger Prawns - eight pieces, shell-on, with chilli, butter and charred lime - from the grill section and a side of truffle Parmesan fries. Meanwhile, I decided to take them up on a standard - cheeseburger (beef patty, gherkins, burger sauce, salad, cheddar and skinny fries).
The prawns were attractively presented but unfortunately the burger had toppled on its side when it got to the table. The prawns, like the crab, lacked flavour and there was a similar issue with the burger - there wasn't a lot of cheese and it was missing sufficient sauce or gherkin to deliver that all-important tang you really want from a burger.
The truffle Parmesan fries, however, were a winner.
Dessert, too, was redeeming: a waffle sandwich filled with salted caramel ice cream.
The drinks menu is extensive, but we were content with a Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer and a Virgin Mojito (very good, a refreshing and close imitation of its boozy counterpart).
Staff gave us a warm welcome, though we did have to wait a long time for assistance at the end when the place was half-empty.
East 59th is undoubtedly a lovely space - a great spot to stop by with colleagues or when your friends visit the city. In the food department, however, for a meal that cost £78.10 (with service charge), this reviewer found it was a matter of style over substance, even if it has plenty of the former.
Address: Victoria Gate, 3rd Floor Rooftop, George St, Leeds LS2 7AU
Telephone: 0113 426 5050
Opening hours: Mon to Thur, noon - 10pm, food until 9pm; Fri to Sat, noon - 1am, food until 9.45pm; Sunday, noon - 6pm, food until 4pm.