Thursday 25 July 2019

Eating Balls & Popping Yolks | Iroko Cafe & Bar

Hey everyone!

Welcome to a brand new blog post! I was invited to a Yakitori event at the wonderful Iroko in Leeds a couple of weeks ago, and I thought that I would talk to you all about it today!

We arrived at the location, which has a cosy but still elegant sort of vibe to it. We sat down and took our time looking at the wonderful decor that surrounded us. We talked to one of the wonderful members of staff, who told us what would happen throughout the night and then told us to think about what we wanted to drink and that he would come back after a couple of minutes. The wonderful waiter came back and we ordered a Painkiller, and a, Moscow Mule. (Yes, okay, I ordered Luke the wrong drink as he wanted a Singapore Sling, but I'm sure worse things could have happened.)
Two thin light brown cylindrical skewers filled with dark brown ox tongue with green ribbons of cucumber at the side of it on a circular blue plate on a light background

We chatted and after a few minutes, our drinks arrived. Painkiller contained, Takamaka Spiced Rum, Coconut Rum and Dark Rum, Coconut Cream, Fresh Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice and Tiki Bitters. Lukes Moscow Mule contained, Vodka, Ginger Ale and Lime. I enjoyed mine. The Rums worked perfectly and the cocktail reminded me of a Summers evening. Luke didn't mind his as he normally hates anything with Ginger, and/or Ginger Ale.

A tall glass filled with light orange liquid with two green circular discs of lime with a cylindrical black straw next to a glass filled with light yellow liquid with a black cylindrical straw on a bright background

Our first course was a mixture of Tempura Vegetables (including Sweet Potato, Peppers and Seaweed) with a Yakitori style BBQ sauce. I liked the Pepper the best. The mix of the slightly sweet cool Pepper against the warm crunchy batter was amazing. I also love any Asian BBQ sauce (I made my own Okonomiyaki a while ago so I've been hooked since), so anything of that sort is always good in my opinion. I think that a massive pile of these with freezing cold drinks in the Summer weather would be an amazing way to catch up with friends.

A selection of light brown shaped tempura pieces next to a black pot filled with dark brown liquid on a rectangular black plate on a bright background

The next course that we enjoyed Yakitori Chicken Thighs. I love Chicken Thighs to the point that I have cut out Chicken Breast where I can, for Thighs. I just love how juicy they are. These were no different. Charred and smoky on the outside, and light and delicate on the inside. I love how they came on the sticks in pure Yakitori style which meant that you could enjoy the food but I could still talk to Luke without having to put down/pick up cutlery every five seconds.

A collection of two bright brown thin cylindrical skewers filled with dark brown pieces of chicken thigh on a blue circular plate with green ribbons of cucumber on a bright background

The next dish that we had were Seared Duck Hearts with Cucumber Slices. Quack, quack! Before you go, Jamie, you really ate Duck Hearts?! Ew! I was always taught to try something at least once before making an opinion, and that's what I did with this dish. I loved these. The slight char went amazingly against the sweet meat of the Duck. I loved the slight chew too! As weird as this sounds, they were a lot smaller than I was expecting but because of this, this made it an amazing little mouthful for me to try and make my decision upon. I hadn't tried these before Iroko, but, I can't thank Iroko enough for introducing me to these. I also loved the slightly pickled Cucumber ribbons. I loved anything pickled to the point that I can down Picklebacks like they are nothing. The slight sourness went perfectly against the sweetness of the Duck.

A selection of two thin wooden light brown cylindrical skewers with oval pieces of dark brown duck on a circular blue plate with ribbons of green cucumber on a bright background

After this, we decided to try some more drinks. Luke finally got to have his Singapore Sling, and I decided to try a Penicillin. The Penicillin contains, Black Bottle Whiskey, Ardberg 10 Single Malt Whisky, Honey and Ginger Syrup, Lemon Juice. The Singapore Sling contains, LAB Organic Gin, Cherry Brandy, Orange Liqueur, Benedictine, Pomegranate Syrup, Pineapple Juice. Luke loved his Singapore Sling. He also said that, even though he hates Gin, he really enjoyed this drink. I loved my Penicillin drink. I love Ginger and Whiskey so this was absolutely perfect for me. The slight Lemon cut through some of the smokiness of the Whiskey which made it refreshing to drink.

Two glass cylrindical glasses filled with light orange liquid with cylindrical black straws on a bright background

Carrying on with the food train, our next stop was, Peppers filled with Cheese and Ham. Honestly, I love Flame-grilled Peppers, Ham and Cheese so I already knew that I was going to love this. (Even if my stomach itself hates Cheese, but that's another story for another day.) The slight sweetness of the Peppers cut through the richness of the Cheese, which made you want to go back for more and more. I loved the slight saltiness that you got every so often with the Ham. Weirdly, I alway associate Charred Peppers with Summer, and to this day I don't know why.

Two light brown thin cylindrical bamboo skewers filled with red peppers on a blue circular plate with green ribbons of cucumber on a bright background

Up to hear about another dish? The next one that was up was, Ox Tongue with Horseradish. I had never tried Ox Tongue, but the waiter told us about it being their favourite dish, so I was excited to try it. The Ox Tongue was delicious, Succulent and slightly sweet. I think because of the sweetness, the slight kick from the horseradish worked amazing with it. I could have loads and loads of this. It was perfection. Well nearly as perfect as this next dish...

Two thin light brown cylindrical skewers filled with dark brown ox tongue with green ribbons of cucumber at the side of it on a circular blue plate on a light background

I do love some good balls! The final dish was Meatballs with Egg Yolk Dip. If you've been checking my Insta then you will know that I've been getting into Salted Egg Buns lately, so I was ecstatic to see that Iroko had a Egg Yolk dish. The Balls were moist and tasty. They had a little bit of spice to them which made them amazing against the creamy richness of the Egg Yolk. I also loved this dish because well I got to pop my own yolk!

Two thin light brown cylindrical skewers with dark brown spherical meatballs with two circular golden egg yolks on a bright blue circular plate on a bright background

We decided to finish off our time at Iroko via having one last drink a piece and a good chat. I've just finished my second year at Uni so I had a good amount of stuff to talk about. We decided to get a Espresso Martini and an El Diablo. The Espresso Martini contains, Ketel One Vodka, Fresh North Star Coffee. El Diablo contains, Tapatio Reposado Tequila, Lime Juice, Ginger Ale and Blackcurrant Liqueur. We both thought that the Espresso Martini packed a punch (which I loved) and the El Diablo gave a fruity Summery twist to a Tequila based cocktail. Lukes not the biggest fan of Tequila but he enjoyed this.

A triangular shaped glass filled with dark brown liquid with a white foam with three oval dark brown beans on top on a bright background

A small wide glass tumbler filled with yellow liquid on a bright background

Have you checked out Iroko? If you're ever in Leeds then please do check it out!

Thank you to the wonderful staff at Iroko for putting on such a terrific tasting menu, and, thanks to the PR for inviting myself and Luke. 

Thanks for reading!
Jamie x

This post was in exchange for a review of the Yakitori event at Iroko. All views, ramblings and opinions are my own. 

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