Brand new Mexican restaurant Cielo Blanco opened in Trinity Leeds last week, The venue is linked to well known Call Lane favourite Neon Cactus. Neon Cactus is well known for it’s tequila based cocktails as well as its great Mexican food (winners of this years Oliver Awards Best food award), so I was looking forward to a similar standard if not better food at Cielo Blanco.
So for the weekly catch-up with the best mate I was thinking, oooh lets try out the new Mexican place. I’d already had a lengthy gander at the menu (as usual), and had my eye on so many of the dishes that I couldn’t wait to get my teeth literally stuck into their food. The menu consists of street food (small plates of tacos, tostados, quesdillas, empanadas) and a selection of what they call market dishes. There’s a range of sharing boards, these come with fresh salsa, wheat, hand pressed tortillas, guacamole, chipotle and sour cream. Then there’s burritos, enchiladas and salads. For groups of 4+ they have a feast menu with a large range of dishes, more than enough to satisfy.
We needed a table with room for a pushchair, so the waitress was very efficient and brought over a highchair straight away and we sat down with enough room for the three of us to sit. The service was really good from the time we entered the restaurant. It took us a few minutes to choose from the menu because everything sounded so great, and after asking the waitress for advice about how much we should order we eventually decided. For starters – a tostados with spicy king prawn, chipotle and lime sour cream, cielo ceviche of queen scallops with east coast mackerel and a sharing board with outdoor reared belly pork with cumin crackling, Oaxacan stew and sweet potato and epazote (a Mexican herb) to follow. The waitress assured us that this would be a large meal for 2 of us. They also had a children’s menu which we ordered some food for the little one too. For drinks, they have a great cocktail menu, Mexican beers and a small, but succinct list of wines, including some good Argentinian, Chilean and Mexican wines.
To start our meal off we were brought some lovely, warm tortilla chips and a trio of dips – guacamole, a chopped salsa with sweetcorn, chilli and a salsa piquant with peppers. The tortilla chips were fantastic, really tasty and a fab crunch to them, not over salty and even though they are fried were not at all greasy. Extremely moreish!!!
Our starters arrived a few minutes later, both tasted great, the little tostados were warm and the prawns with the chipotle, lime and sour cream really went well together, a little garnish of pepper, lettuce and tomato giving it a bit of crunch and freshness. The ceviche of scallops was lovely, a generous portion of queen scallops lovely and soft, with some gem lettuce to act as little holders to carry the scallop and equally tasty mackerel.
The sharing board came while we were eating our starters and the board was so large it was hard to fit everything on the table.
We soon realised the waitress was right when saying it would be more than enough to feed the two of us, not that we were complaining though!! The belly pork was great, it had a lovely crackling with meat which was very juicy, it made a great tortilla with the sweet potato and charred peppers and onions. There was also rice and a stew which was so tender! More accompaniments of guacamole, sour cream, salsa really made it a very filling meal indeed!
All washed down with some Argentinian Viognier for me and a Mexican beer called Dos Equis for my friend, it all went down very easily. The service was great throughout, the waitresses were attentive and on hand to clear away and tidy up after us.
The next time I come I’ll definitely want to try some of their cocktails, they looked especially good.
In matters other than the food, the atmosphere is great and already has a good buzz about it. In terms of cost, I think it’s very reasonable – street food dishes range from £3.95-£7,95, you can order 6 street food dishes for 2 people @ £10.95 each. The sharing boards are £10.95 each and the burritos and enchiladas are £5.50-£7.45. For groups of 4+ the feast is £14.50 per person. Our meal in total was £60.35 for 2 people and a little one (excluding a tip).
Great food, drinks, atmosphere and service = a return visit soon!Cielo Blanco 415 Trinity Leeds Albion Street Leeds 0113 246 9707