Review: The Soap Factory, Whitehall Road, Leeds

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The Soap Factory is probably best known not for it’s food but for the bubbles constantly blowing courtesy of the bubble machine just outside its door.

With the soap theme strong on the menu, the restaurant takes the concept one step further and every evening releases a cascade of floating bubbles down Whitehall Road.

However, I must say our visit was not very relaxing, because for some unknown reason on Friday lunchtime the restaurant had a practise fire alarm.

We were reassured several times it would soon be over. It was so loud we could barely talk to one another.

Despite that, the food was generally pretty decent. The Joe’s Classic Burger (£8.50) felt standard, but completely satisfactory. It came with a good relish and thin crispy chips to dip.

However it is in the drinks where The Soap Factory shined for us.

I ordered a Pornstar Martini which was delightful. A fruity, refreshing beverage which comes with a shot of Prosecco. Just what you need to melt the first half of the day’s workload away.

But it came with a hefty price tag - £8 - which was almost as much as my main course.

For dessert I ordered the ever trendy ‘freakshake’ - I chose a banana and toffee flavour (£5.95), which was indeed delicious. However it was messy, the chocolate had been frozen onto the rim and was impossible to get off with a spoon.

Inventive desserts crammed into drinks glasses seem to be all the rage on Instagram at the moment and I must admit, I expected a little more.

But in reality it was just a banana milkshake with whipped cream, which was still very enjoyable but did not quite live up to the expectations I had.

Our waitress was friendly and fast, the food took hardly any time at all to get to our table, which was a huge bonus as we only had an hour for lunch.

Decor is stylish and cosy. However it certainly does feel like a restaurant attached to a hotel, as opposed to a stand alone venture. Many of the diners seemed to be staying at the hotel, with large bags and suitcases under their tables.

It was also fairly quiet during the lunch rush, which was surprising.

From the outside The Soap Factory seems like a trendy and lively place but once inside it was rather mellow. Though I won’t be rushing back any time soon, the food is entirely passable.

You won’t find a stylish cocktail bar here but there is perfectly fine food and, barring the fire alarm, a relaxing atmosphere.

FACTFILE: 4 Whitehall, Whitehall Quay, Leeds LS1 4HR

SCORES: 3/5

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