Were we to have a rating category for “Smells of Lemons,” Palm Sugar would score a 5 out of 5. So if their target demographic is “people who enjoy the smell of lemons,” they’re right on the money. Even our clothes had absorbed the overpowering scent by the time we left.
The restaurant Chaophraya has been in Leeds for several years, but this new downstairs venue markets itself as their “high end cocktail bar concept.” High end is right. Cocktails go for £7.50-£8.50, and the beers (which range from mediocre to mediocre) all sell for £4. With its sleek furniture and fluorescent-based lighting design, Palm Sugar feels like a hotel bar that happens to be Thai-themed. The atmosphere isn’t wonderful or horrible, but it was another place where we felt like we didn’t quite fit. Luckily it wasn’t terribly crowded when we visited, so it was easy to find a seat and have a conversation.
Like the atmosphere, the beer selection is just average. Their bottles include Moosehead, Kirin Ichiban, Singha, Chang, Tiger, Peroni, and Black Sheep Bitter. Besides Becks Vier, on draft they offer a lager called “Yom,” which as best as we could figure out is brewed specifically for Chaophraya. (It was ok.) So while we LOVE the restaurant, we wouldn’t visit Palm Sugar again just for a drink. Unless maybe we were in the area and wanted to sit in their beer garden on a warm day. But even that looks out onto the traffic of Call Lane/Swinegate.
And did I mention it smells of lemons?