Bird & Beast Chicken dinner, Leeds

Bird and Beast is a new restaurant that will hopefully liven up the Central Arcade, set up by chef Simon Shaw who runs well respected El Gato Negro in Ripponden.

As they were promoting their opening with a voucher for 50% off food, the other half and I went a few weeks ago with voucher in hand. It would’ve been rude not to!!  Chicken is something I order very rarely, preferring other forms of meaty options, so I was intrigued to see their take on it. 

Their ethos is pretty straightforward; to serve the humble chicken by using locally sourced free-range birds, treating them simply and using the rotisserie to build flavour. Why chicken? The idea was born from difficulty in finding somewhere that served great chicken when dining out. Great idea!!!

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Located on the upper level of the arcade, it has two entrances – one from Central Road (near Hifi and Mrs Atha’s) and from inside the arcade. We walked in from the Briggate side, noticing the place fairly empty in terms of businesses, and in turn a little low on footfall.

Approaching the restaurant it has a full glass wall showing the dining room, cleverly bringing in light, I’m assuming that element would be much needed considering it’s located at the end of the arcade. 

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With its open kitchen the place has a relaxed feel, the rotisserie having pride of place in full view of the dining room. We were offered a choice of tables to sit at, we chose to sit along the side of the room to get a better aspect, but in hindsight we should’ve sat at the counter to get en eyeful of chickens cooking on the rotisserie and watch them being carved up. I’ll leave that for next time!

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From the menu it’s obvious to see that it’s ALL about the humble chicken,  it can be ordered quartered, half or whole (£5-15.50). Non-meat-eaters could easily be excluded from this place, but with a selection of summer salads (£6.96 – £8.95) as a main course or for sharing this is their way of fulfilling the brief. Changing the salads on a regular basis to keep it seasonal was a nice touch. Other side orders to accompany your meal like fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw are available too (£2.75 – £3.25).

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They proudly state that the chickens are free-range and sourced locally from well known Sykes House Farm, in the Yorkshire Wolds. The birds are treated with care, double marinated before being cooked in an oven to keep the bird as moist as possible. A final flourish on the spit using cherry wood chips and charcoal provides the birds with a smoky flavour.

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The other half is a huge fan of roast chicken, especially the breast, no pun intended, whilst I’m a thigh, wings and drumstick kinda girl! Similarly like the crackling on pork belly, I also love chicken skin, I know a lot of people who always leave it, like they would crisp fish skin, but what a waste! I LOVE it!

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It was yummy and crisp and possessed tonnes of flavour from lemon and herbs. I dove in for the wing, it lasted a couple of minutes, altogether delicious, juicy and moist! A definite use your hands moment! The same with the drumstick. Good to see the chicken breast was also moist and the portion size was enough for two people. But as I’m not the quickest of eaters, the other half will testify to that, my chicken breast did go a little dry, so sauces were definitely needed.

Sounds silly but we didn’t actually know any sauces were available as no-one even mentioned them. We only realised when a diner brought some over to their table that they had loads of different types. At the time of our visit it was still early days as a fully functioning restaurant so that can be forgiven, till next time! What surprised me was seeing that ALL the sauces were bought in, no homemade sauces on offer. Fair enough with Heinz and Tabasco etc, but it seemed odd having things like Nandos sauces in the mix, I’m hoping in time they’ll be coming up with their own range. 

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Even though they doesn’t serve starters as such, our sides of fries, sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob was plenty for two. We enjoyed the sweet potato wedges the most, the fries were nice, but think they’d been cooked a little bit before being plated up as they weren’t as crisp as expected and tasted a little flat. The corn on the cob was alright, had a little charring on the side, but was served barely warm, don’t know if this was how they intended it to be, I would have preferred them to be hotter.

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With 50% off food, our total bill for two people came to £17 including a tip. 

If I was to visit again I think I’d want to try their Sunday Roast, where beast meets bird with Rib of beef and Belly pork on the menu!

I’d recommend Bird & Beast!

Food: a small, concise menu with a clear aim. Chicken, being the star of the show is allowed to be just that and was tasty. Shame you can’t just order the wings and drums etc, just saying that because they are my favourite bits. Portion sizes and prices are reasonable too.

Service: ordering food took a little while as staff were still finding their feet. Turnover in the kitchen was fairly swift. Staff were overall friendly and helpful, but need to remember to tell diners about the sauces though! 

Atmosphere: lovely, great looking space. Music in the background is the right volume so you can have a conversation even when it’s full. 

It was a number of weeks since we visited Bird & Beast, so I’m hoping any little niggles of mine have had chance to get ironed out.

Bird & Beast
Central Arcade
Central Road
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 6DX
0113 245 3348

Bird & Beast on Urbanspoon

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