Restaurant review: Yard & Coop, Leeds

Yard & Coop on Merrion Street.
Yard & Coop on Merrion Street.
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Could you be tempted into fried chicken on Merrion Street?

And we don’t mean at 2am, six pints down, after a night out in the city centre.

Upstairs at Yard & Coop on Merrion Street.

Upstairs at Yard & Coop on Merrion Street.

We’re talking about a sit-down meal at Yard & Coop, Leeds’s newest chicken-themed addition to its already-bulging restaurant scene.

Spoiler alert: it is worth your while.

The emphasis here is, you guessed it, chicken. From breast and thigh to drumsticks or wings. But there’s a catch (or rather, a perk). After being seated, you’ll be asked the customary “is this your first time” question.

Then you’ll be carefully carried through the menu and ordering protocol.

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First things first, select which part of the chicken you want. Then choose a sauce from an option of six to accompany your fried selection.

Options include Dr Pepper BBQ, Korean and Abodo Chilli Mayo. Finally, you’re offered either fries or salad to go with.

If chips beckon, the menu helpfully suggests several options for fries “upgrades”.

There is a choice of sweet potato, Salt & Pepper, Loaded Tatties or Dirty Fries.

I opt for chicken thigh, Dr Pepper barbecue and upgraded salt & pepper fries as my partner goes for chicken breast with Korean sauce and upgraded sweet potato fries - “delicious” she tells me.

There’s plenty of sides - vegan and chicken (wings), and we order the Curried Caulibombs (deep-fried cauliflower, with mango chutney), to share.

For drinks, we go with a Yard Pilsner (4.2 per cent) and a Flip The Bird IPA (4.8 per cent). Both go down a treat with chicken, as expected. The Cauliflower could up the curry flavour if we’re being picky, and could perhaps have been cooked for longer. But flavour was good and it worked well with the mango chutney.

But, Yard & Coop is all about the chicken. And quite simply, it’s excellent. Immediately it becomes clear why this now-flourishing eatery has restaurants in Manchester, Liverpool and now Leeds.

Thigh and breast variant of the menu are delicious. Not too heavy and extremely tasty, as are the sauces.

The chicken is succulent, pulls apart easily and is not fast food-esque greasy.

Fries are also five-star.

The premises has a ground floor bar area and first-floor restaurant seating.

The toilets - all bearing ‘unisexual’ signs - are located on the lower-ground level.

Staff are friendly and service is prompt, and with a smile.

Decor-wise, the walls are exposed brick and its US diner-style with a hipster vibe (plus music) and relaxed lighting.

We’ll be returning. Not least because their loyalty card offers us our 9th meal for free.