Vice and Virtue Leeds Review – Leeds Brunch – Best Brunch Leeds – Best Restaurants Leeds –
Located in the hipster side of town Vice and Virtue have been doing great things with food and cocktails since its inception back in 2015. In such a short space of time, Owner Luke Downing and the team have redefined the city’s restaurant scene. From winning ‘Best Fine Dining’ at this year’s Oliver Awards, the only restaurant in Leeds to get a new entry into the Good Food Guide 2018 and their “Yorkshire Lass” rhubarb and gin cocktail winning awards and featuring on Channel 4. You’d think the team may rest on their laurels a little. Never one to stand still Owner Luke had decided a refurb was in order alongside exciting new small plates and brunch menus, to showcase some of the restaurant dishes in their relaxed bar downstairs. For those not too familiar with fine dining or put off by the thought of a formal restaurant, this is the perfect place to dip your toe in.
We paid a visit to sample their recently launched 5-course brunch and cocktails menu, available on Saturday and Sundays. Like most things at Vice and Virtue, this is not brunch as you know it. Not a poached egg or avocado in sight, but instead great food with a twist and decadent cocktails served up in a quirky setting. We chose to pair our brunch with the ‘Prestige Brunch Cocktails’ (£75pp) which all have V&V’s twist, over the ‘Classic Brunch Cocktails’ (£50pp). After previously experiencing their Food ‘n’ Cocktails menu we knew to expect a menu that may push the boundaries but shows off how passionate the Vice and Virtue team are.
Once we climbed the stairs we were immediately greeted by Dean, Vice and Virtue’s Bar Manager and Cocktail Wizard. Dean talked us through what to expect and a bit about the ethos of Vice and Virtue in a really friendly and relaxed manner. Their prohibition style bar, with its dark walls, quirky ornaments and burlesque nights on their events calendar, the style of the bar adds to the whole experience.
Once seated it was onto our first cocktail, is there a better way to start brunch than a classic mimosa? Yes! V&V’s Signature Mimosa. Verve Clicquot Champagne served with a fruity pressed rhubarb, organic apple juice and rose water. I was a bit taken aback at first when I saw bircher porridge on the menu but it did work. Oats soaked overnight in a blend of milk and coconut milk to naturally sweeten. Sat on a bed of mango and passion fruit compote and served with a crunchy homemade granola biscuit. A perfect accompaniment to the citrus hit of the Signature Mimosa.
Onto the next cocktail and a personal favourite given the V&V spin with some added bling. Pitch Black and Stormy. A super smooth Bacardi Ocho rum expertly mixed with homemade ginger beer, fresh lime juice and edible glitter! No brunch menu would be complete without the obligatory smoked salmon. Forget the eggs royale though. V&V served up thick slices of beetroot and juniper cured salmon with edamame beans, the most amazing miso emulsion to give a deep umami taste and finished with beetroot powder to add a splash of colour to an already beautiful looking dish.
The ‘Quintessential’ couldn’t have had a more fitting name. Definitely a contender for best cocktail of the day. The perfect blend of lemon, elderflower, and apple juices, finished with a floral grey goose pear vodka. We can see why this is the second biggest seller after the award-winning ‘Yorkshire Lass’. Paired with this, two perfectly sized croquettes, filled with Spanish style Morcelo black pudding on a bed of homemade baked beans. Finished with a sharp rhubarb gel to cut through the richness of the black pudding.
Being a lover of slow-cooked meats, I was very much looking forward to the next dish. Buffalo flank cooked overnight in a heady concoction of Arabica beans and almond milk. Served on a thick slice of tomato and basil sourdough toast and finished with a light aerated hollandaise sauce. Absolutely delicious. I have to admit the ‘Autumn Woods’ cocktail, a combination of truffle infused Noilly Pratt with a Freya birch tree spirit, did literally look like something you would find in the woods. Complete with a wheatgrass rim and mushroom garnish. Too far for my partner but as a big fan of vermouth, it was another winner for me.
Our last dish of the 5-course brunch experience showcased a great example of the V&V desserts. Macha green tea and cherry roulade, beautifully presented with jewels of pistachio and cherry gel and a decadent scoop of homemade cherry brandy ice cream. To match Dean expertly mixed another favourite after-dinner drink. Grey Goose vodka, espresso coffee liquor and a hint of caramel. Any lovers of Espresso Martini need to come here and sample this.
For those who want an alternative Leeds brunch experience where the food and drink will be the centre of the conversation, this is an absolute must. We couldn’t end our review without a special mention to the Bar Manager and Waiter for the day Dean, who showed absolute passion, attentive service and some great insight into the fabulous selection at Vice and Virtue. This is how to start your weekend with a bang.
Brunch served Saturday and Sunday from 12pm, 2pm last sitting. Five courses and five cocktails from £50pp.
Vice and Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU – 0113 345 0202
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Vice and Virtue Leeds Review – Leeds Brunch – Best Brunch Leeds – Best Restaurants Leeds