A few weeks ago, I was struck down with hand foot and mouth disease. After a really shitty week of isolation, hardly any sleep, skin that I wanted to tear off my body, and generally feeling sorry for myself, to say I had cabin fever was an absolute understatement! So in order to get some semblance of normalcy back, and to say thank you to Ryan for being an absolute hero for putting up with me and looking after me, I decided to take us to Yard & Coop as a bit of a lunchtime treat one Saturday.
Yard & Coop has been top of the list of places I've wanted to try out since before Christmas. I was actually invited down to an event there in December but due to a combination of work and a family birthday I was unable to attend. But their menu stuck with me, and as a big fan of anything battered and chicken-y, I just knew I had to head down there at some point and see if the food tasted as good as it sounded.
Heading down the stairs to the main restaurant space, I was really impressed with how aesthetically pleasing everything was. Set in what looked like an old warehouse, the industrial-style fixtures and original building features made for an intimate and cosy atmosphere, which was added to by the inclusion of a designated "Coop" booth seating area towards the back of the restaurant.
After spending most of the previous evening perusing the menu, there was no doubt about what I wanted to order. But with such a wide variety of dishes from which you could choose, Ryan asked for some guidance from one of the front of house team. With all dishes under £20, light bites, large plates and salads to sample, I think for a first-time visit it is definitely worth getting some input as to what some of the staff's recommendations are. If you're as indecisive as me, you could be sat there for a long time otherwise.
Fortunately, with choices narrowed down, we ordered quickly and waited for our food to arrive. At the time we went to Yard & Coop, it was relatively quite, and service was really prompt - something I was incredibly grateful for (don't cross a hangry heavily pregnant woman)!
Deciding to try something a bit different, I opted for the "Not chicken nuggets" (aka crumb coated halloumi) with chips, a side of Mamma Mia sauce, and slaw. The only thing that was a little frustrating when it came to ordering was the selection of sauces. In between mega spicy ones, ones containing ingredients I can't have, and BBQ based options, choices were a tad limited. But this is no fault of Yard & Coop, and entirely circumstantial. (If I wasn't up the duff I would have nailed that blue cheese sauce!) Ryan went for the boneless thigh, chips and both Bourbon BBQ and Blue Cheese sauce coupled with a cheeky Gamma Ray.
I think it's testament to how good a plate of food is if you get totally engrossed in eating and ignore everything else around you. And for the first few minutes this was definitely us. We must have looked like a right anti-social pair, but the food was just so delicious neither of us could help it. My haloumi came out hot, creamy and melt-in-the-mouth and really hit the spot, whilst Ryan boldly commented that the chicken was some of the best he has ever had. Of course with such a statement I had to have a nibble and it was really delicious - the perfect blend of succulent meat and crunchy crumb - definitely something I need to order for myself next time!
I was really impressed with the portion size. It was perfect for lunchtime, and comfortably filling. Yeah, sure, I couldn't quite finish everything, but I'd rather that than to be left wanting. And I think for anyone else, the plate size would be perfect. Forever on the lookout for a new and affordable place to stop by when we're in town, where you always get bang for your buck, Yard & Coop definitely made it to one of the top spots.
Even though our bellies were full, we just couldn't leave without having at least some kind of dessert. It was my duty as a food lover and blogger and a sacrifice that just had to be made! Deciding to be sensible and share, we opted for an Oreo milkshake. Incredibly smooth, without those annoying bits that clog up your straw, and undeniably more-ish, this was the perfect way to round off our meal. So involved in polishing off our shake we didn't even realise there had been a mix-up and we'd actually been given a Nutella one instead. It didn't bother us at all (we hadn't even noticed the difference in flavour) but it was lovely that the staff were so apologetic and willing to make us a new one.
So, would I head back to Yard & Coop? Oh yes! I think the concept is just brilliant - the blend of chicken dishes and a super-cool setting make for a really refreshing change to our usual L1 haunts, and it's great knowing there'll always be something on the menu that I want to eat. And with a range of affordable dishes (I think the most expensive is £15.00) there is something to suit all budgets, whether for lunch, light bites or dinner.
For more details about Yard & Coop, head over to their website. Headed there already? Let me know what your favourite dish was in the comments.