The latest addition to Leeds will give you a chance to try Asian dishes you’ve never had before…
Boss Burgers may be gone, but in its place stands a new concept restaurant that might just be even better than what came before. Aiyo is an Asian-influenced eatery that serves up fast food in a new way – it’s clean, it’s fresh and it’s completely different to what you’d expect. Even better, you’ll get a chance to try dishes you’ve never had before.
They’re doing something completely new, at least for Leeds, but you may have experienced their food before because Aiyo comes from the people behind Little Bao Boy, the street food pop-up that won over the Leeds masses at Indie Banquet, Leeds International Beer Festival and Brandon Street Night Market.
“Aiyo was essentially a happy accident, I was working at Leeds International Beer Festival last year and just so happened to be working next to one of the former owners of Boss Burgers. I explained to him that I was driving back to Middlesbrough to my parents’ restaurant to do all my food prep and he couldn’t really believe it. He mentioned that he had some spare kitchen space and it was only recently we took him up on the offer,” Founder, James Ooi, told us. “From there we would frequently be in the same place cooking different foods, then one day we were chatting about food trends, about how plant powered food has really come into the spotlight and how Leeds is really missing a good, different Asian-influenced eatery and before you know it Aiyo was born.”
This is not your usual menu. In fact, they only have six dishes to their name, but they’re good ones – and you can make them your own with add-ons like spiced pork balls, prawns and boiled eggs with a runny yolk. So what will you be eating? Well, they have their own take on Noodle Soup, which is vegan, and made with mixed vegetable broth, noodles, bean sprouts, spring onion, chilli oil and fried garlic, but if you want to try something a little different, you won’t be disappointed.
In fact, they’ve actually paid tribute to Boss Burgers with a new creation that blends their Asian influences with the former’s American favourite. Their Korean Fried Chicken Bao Burger is a monster of a meal. They soak chicken thighs in marinated butter milk and fry them to give ‘em that delicious crunch, then pack them into an over-sized bao with Asian salad and Sriracha mayo. And you won’t feel left out if you’re veggie or vegan because they do a tofu version too, marinated and deep fried to give it the same crispy texture.
That’s not the only thing on the menu that you won’t find anywhere else in Leeds. You can also get your first taste of Congee. “This is traditionally a breakfast meal and I love it because it’s hard to get anywhere else. It’s packed full of flavour, hearty and it warms you up,” Ooi told us. “It’s totally vegan and packed full of flavour. We cook down rice in shiitake and veg stock until it becomes a porridge-like texture and add shiitake mushrooms. We then top it with fresh coriander, soy sauce, fried garlic, ginger, spring onion, white pepper, sesame oil and chilli.”
Whatever you order, be sure to couple it with a portion of their Salt & Pepper Fries, which come with a generous coating of Sriracha mayo. And don’t forget to bring your favourite bottle of plonk because they operate a bring your own bottle policy that will make eating out that little bit more affordable. Coupled with their down to earth prices, which will see you tucking into a generous main course for £5-6, you’ve got a downright bargainous night out.
It’s all part of the plan for Ooi, “The foodies of Leeds will be able to try flavours they probably haven’t had before and at Aiyo you can enjoy super tasty dishes and not feel guilty about it. You won’t break the bank when you come here but you will be full!” The food is definitely the highlight, but it’s served up in a colourful restaurant that’s bright and bold by day, but atmospheric at night, when their signature dragon mural is lit by candlelight.
This is something different, something exciting and something you absolutely need to try – so get yourself down there and discover a different side of Asian cuisine.
Aiyo, 75 Brudenell Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1HR.