TADA Leeds review: I tried the newly-opened Japanese restaurant in the heart of Headingley
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The student-heavy Leeds district is awash with a fantastic array of places for food; including Indians, Italians, chippies, Vietnamese and Middlesbrough-worthy Parmo.
So when TADA was opened by former Leeds University student Thomas Chiang in the summer, he must have worried that he would have some job on his hands in attracting custom.
But worry he needn’t not, as evidenced on the Thursday night that we headed to the Japanese restaurant where there was only booking slots available at 5.45pm and 9.15pm due to the sky-high demand.
Thomas said at the time of the opening that he wanted to open a Japanese place after being disappointed by the lack of availability when he first came to the city 15 years ago.
Inspired by family trips home and the incredible food he tried in Osaka and Tokyo, Thomas and business partner Katlin Akerman opened the traditional restaurant to rave reviews.
And not to spoil the ending, but we had an incredible time during our visit.
We were seated by the front window in the cosily compact venue and were looked after during the next hour and a bit by our lovely waitress Katie, who was effortlessly attentive, informative, funny and efficient. My companion had already visited and had commented on how wonderful the service was despite the recent opening (and the tendency for teething problems that comes with that) and the arid busyness of the place.
The only gnawing factor was the presence of yet another ‘This Must Be The Place’ neon sign. So to all of the bars and restaurants that seem to be on a mission to ruin my favourite Talking Heads song with the overuse of this ITV2-esque prop I say this – you won’t win.
First up were our drinks, which for me was a Yuzu Margarita. The crisp drink added an oriental freshness to punchiness of the classic tequila-based titan.
For starters we went for the chicken and vegetable gyozas which were delightfully fluffy and filled with flavour as well as the king prawn katsu, which was coated in one of the most mouth-watering, crispy batters I’ve ever had the joy of encountering.
As we were taking our time with the outstanding starters our mains were brought to add to the enjoyment. I went for a rice bowl with salmon teriyaki, which was superb. The sweet and sticky sauce brought a whole host of flavour to the pan fried salmon, with my only gripe being that there wasn’t more of it.
My friend’s bento box (which I got a fair old sample of) was like an upturned shelf of Japanese delights. There were too many to go through individually, so I will just say that everything tasted fresh, distinctive, enticing and, above all, delicious in its own way.
We had the extra delight of surprising Katie with the announcement that we were reviewing the place for the local paper and would be giving it a glowing write up, which got a heart-warming, modest and red-faced response.
The bill itself, including a 10% service charge, came to £74.14, which considering the current economic climate coupled with the downright fabulous experience we’d had, seemed more than fair.
Address: 49 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3AB
Telephone: 0113 805 6173
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 5.30pm-10.30pm; Fri-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 5pm-11pm; Sun, 12pm-3pm, 5pm-10.30pm