Restaurant reviews

The Itsu Leeds experience reviewed

When Itsu first launched in Leeds, there was some mystique surrounding this normally southern-orientated healthy eating chain. With Itsu now firmly established just outside of Trinity, the intrigue has turned into curiosity and is likely soon to turn into a habit for many who live and work in the city centre.

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Offering the idea that you can eat beautifully so that low fat and good food combine, the Itsu experience builds upon the basic idea that people now know what they like to eat and care about what they are eating. In short, it promises to be beautiful to eat and good for your body.

While there are many other options that have taken this idea up half-heartedly, like for example Pret, Itsu goes for it with a full sense of duty and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to having a minimalistic but somehow engaging dining area that glows a strangely enticing pink colour and leaves you feeling like you have somehow walked out of a film you can’t quite place.

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The interior and the mission are both interesting but would be pointless without delivering on taste, especially since Itsu do not present themselves as a low cost option.

For me, the food hit the mark. While I didn’t get a chance to try the range of Sushi on offer, the choices seemed excellent and there was enough of a mix to tempt even those who are often a little put off by the idea of raw fish. Instead, my meal was focused on the chance to try the chicken jaipur.

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The crystal noodles offered a different taste and texture to your everyday stir fry noodles and the soup tasted aromatic without being overpowering. The dish really hit the mark. The fact that there were lots of interesting and tasty dips around the restaurant was handy and the fact it came in under 300 calories was a delight! A winning dish and a fair representation of the food on offer here.

For pudding I had something that I thought was going to be a let down and picked almost to spite the name: the white chocolate dream. While I am no Gregg Wallace when it comes to pudding reviewing, I do know what makes a good pud and simply put this was divine. Creamy, indulgent and drawing you back in for more while tantalising you with the fact it couldn’t get too unhealthy as you only had a small portion to enjoy, it was a pudding that I will be going back for without hesitation.

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I also had the chance to try out the Itsu water (fine but not special) and a range of the snacks. These all went down nicely and will be something I could nibble on happily at my desk (when the sad day comes when I have to retire from the world of being a stay at home dad). All in all, this is certainly one of the best places for an on the go business lunch in Leeds.

Disclaimer: I was sent an eat beautiful box and was given £10 to spend at Itsu in order to provide a review. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and all views are as ever my own.

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