Popular street food traders bring a taste of Asia to Leeds with new restaurant

Monday, 26th February 2018, 11:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th February 2018, 1:40 pm

Born out of a collaboration between two well-known haunts on the Leeds food scene comes new Asian-influenced eatery, Aiyo, which opened in Hyde Park earlier this month.

Inspired by old family recipes and with an emphasis on home-cooking, Aiyo puts a contemporary twist on traditional dishes, to offer diners healthy, home-cooked Chinese food which caters for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Following a hugely successful year of trading across the North of England at pop-ups and events, the renowned bao buns veterans, Little Bao Boy, saw a need for more plant-powered Asian eateries, which led to them teaming up with a former owner of Boss Burgers to bring the new restaurant to life.

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The varied menu caters for vegan, vegetarian and meat-eaters alike (Photo: Aiyo / Lucy R. Jones)

Deriving from an informal Chinese exclamation, the word aiyo refers to enjoyment or excitement, and staying true to this ethos, Little Bao Boy's new establishment puts a contemporary twist on Grandma's old recipes; experimenting with the home-cooked family meals that Little Bao Boy owner, James Ooi, grew up eating.

With their modern take on traditional family recipes, aiyo uses locally sourced ingredients to deliver a fresh and healthy Asian food menu, with baos freshly handmade on-site every day alongside firm favourites, including a spiced buttermilk fried chicken bao burger and the ultimate tofu bao burger, with deep fried marinated tofu, chili, spring onion and hoisin sauce.

In addition, there are wholesome vegetable rice bowls, vegan noodle soups packed with goodness, vegan shiitake congee with fragrant ginger, coriander, chilli and fried garlic, and Grandma's traditional Massaman rice bowl, with slow-cooked chicken thigh.

Side dishes include a selection of steamed pak choi, Asian salad, and salt and pepper fries drizzled in Sriracha mayonnaise.

The restaurant allows diners to bring their own alcoholic drinks, making it a cheaper place to dine out than most (Photo: Aiyo / Lucy R. Jones)

The cosy eatery accommodates 16 covers, plus it's bring-your-own-booze, adding to Aiyo's homely atmosphere.

It's the perfect place to head for hearty, healthy, home-cooked food and it will also be available on Deliveroo in the next few months.

Speaking of the new venture, James Ooi, owner of Little Bao Boy, said: "At Aiyo we want people to be able to try traditional Asian food along with a few Western influences, in a contemporary environment.

"A lot of our dishes aren't that readily available around Leeds, mainly because we wrote the menu from scratch and these are dishes that I grew up eating, as opposed to dishes you would find in a Chinese restaurant.

"With us having BYOB (bring your own bottle), we want people to enjoy some drinks, eat good food and bring the social aspect back into eating."

The restaurant is open between 5pm and 10.30pm from Wednesday to Thursday, and between 12pm and 10.30pm from Friday to Sunday.

Visit: 75 Brudenell Grove, LS6 1HR - facebook.com/aiyoLeeds