House of Fu, a new Japanese street food restaurant on the Headrow

House of Fu is a raman, rice bowl and gyoza hang out that recently opened on the Headrow, next to Headrow House in Leeds City Centre. I had seen lots of great looking photos of food from House of Fu and had heard great things about their dishes from friends, and so when I was due to go to the Leeds International Festival for a panel event on Monday evening, I jumped at the opportunity to give House of Fu a try.

I booked a table for 5:15pm on Monday evening, but was a few minutes late, thanks to the traffic on Otley Road. Thankfully, the team was forgiving of my tardiness, and showed me and my boyfriend to a table just to the right of the counter. We both agreed it was a pretty good spot since the restaurant was already busy and we were in a place that was a little out of the way of the key routes in and out of the eatery.

We sat down, were given some water, and checked out the décor. It was pretty interesting. The mix of concrete pillars with wood panelled walls and exposed wooden beams was cool. I liked the token macramé plant pot decoration but did think that it could have done with a few more plants to soften the place up a bit. We both thought that the restaurant had a feminine vibe, which could have been what they were going for, but we thought it might have put some diners off.

Our bellies soon remined us to get a move on with deciding on our dinner. Although I had looked at the menu online, we took our time to decide what to go for. The main dishes looked good and I was particularly intrigued to try the rice bowls, we decided to order a few of the side dishes to share. Each of the dishes was between £4 and £6 – which meant that we could try a good selection of items without blowing the bank.

This lover of fried chicken had to try Fu’s version. The dish, which was a pretty generous portion for a side, arrived first. It came with a refreshingly creamy shiso tartare, which I loved dipping the crispy chicken bites into. Although the chicken was moist and had a good crunch, it did lack a bit of flavour and a lot of the crunchy bits were left in the bowl rather than coating the chicken.  

To keep things fresh, and to get at least one of my five a day, I opted for the sunshine salad, which was a small bowl of spiralised vegetables doused in a rice vinegar and ginger dressing. Whilst the dish was tasty, I felt, like the chicken, it lacked a little something else. A drizzle of sweet chilli sauce or a sprinkle of crunchy seeds would have gone down nicely.

Alongside the chicken, and salad, we ordered a bowl of chili crunch rice. The portion was surprisingly large, especially as we weren’t really sure what other people would have ordered with it from the main menu. Saying that, we ate the lot and thought that the rice was delicious. It was well flavoured with smoky chilli oil and was generously sprinkled with fresh spring onions and crunchy chilis.

The last ‘main meal’ item was the pork gyozas, which were simple but well cooked and flavoursome. The dipping sauce went well with the dumplings and helped to give them a bit more of a kick. We both agreed that we were going to have to try recreating the gyozas at home when we next have a chance.

As always, we had saved just enough stomach space to share a dessert. The options were limited, but not disappointingly so. We decided to try the white chocolate and raspberry matcha ice cream sandwich, which we both agreed sounded intriguing and delicious. It arrived within a couple of minutes, and after letting it thaw slightly, we dug in. I loved the combination of fresh raspberry jam with the not too sweet white chocolate ice cream and the slightly crunchy matcha cookie. I also loved that it had all been dipped in some white chocolate which gave it another little hit of decadence. We both thought that the dessert was probably the standout item of our meal and agreed that we would go back just to enjoy the cookie ice cream sandwich.

Overall, we had an enjoyable meal at House of Fu and would recommend it to others looking to try something a bit different in the City Centre. Price wise, it also wasn’t bad. In total, our food came to £26, which we thought was reasonable.

Photography by Gemma Bridge.

Dr Gemma Bridge

Gemma, is a freelance writer and independent researcher. She has been writing for over 10 years and loves to share what's going on in and around Leeds. She is also an international athlete, the Running Mayor of Leeds and the creator of Leeds Food Guide. You can find her on Instagram at @GLB_racewalk or @Leeds_FoodGuide, or on Twitter at @glbridge1 or @RunMayor_Leeds

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