Tag Archives: Sandinista

Sandinista Pre-Theatre dinner, Leeds

So West Side Story tickets had been booked months in advance, but for most theatre goers there’s the pre-theatre dinner and drinks to consider too. As you can imagine this suits me just fine, so my friend and I needed somewhere close by that she hadn’t tried before, meaning favourites Thai Aroy Dee and Fuji Hiro were out. OK, The Belgrave; I love the place but it was rammed and we wanted to sit and eat without making a mess, I can’t eat a Patty Smith’s burger without getting it all over my face and hands so it was probably not the best option (this time).

We opted for Sandinista next door, my last visit was last year, which I remember was pretty good. To read my write up on this previous occasion click here. Since then Sandinista have worked with Anthony Flinn and devised a new menu full of Spanish-inspired dishes in ‘Pots, Pans and Cans’. As well as a selection of tapas dishes, there’s meat and cheese that can be selected to build your own platter. There’s so much I could have feasted on, but we had to be out within the hour and seated to watch Maria and Tony sing their hearts out, whilst falling in love on the backstreets of NYC.


We were lucky to grab a table as Leeds had a lot going on that evening, especially as Prince was performing at the First Direct Arena, which answered the question why so many people were dressed in purple (requested by the man himself). We quickly ordered our food and a bottle of Tempranillo, something easy drinking and moderately robust. Our server said that our food would be ready in approximately ten minutes, giving us plenty of time to eat, drink and saunter across the road to The Grand. 


Food arrived soon after, the sight of six pots, pans and cans full of food was a mouth-watering sight if ever there was one. 


My chicken wings were yummy! With an exterior that was perfectly crisp, the first bite unveiled the juicy flesh making these morsels ‘finger-lickin’ good’. The red pepper sauce was an excellent accompaniment with lots of flavour. My croquetas were packed with meaty fish possessing just the right level of saltiness, all inside a lovely crisp, breadcrumbed crust which encased the whole thing. Lastly my Jambalaya was a wonderful bowl filled with large juicy prawns, full flavoured sausage and al dente rice, that small bowl was a triumph packed with building heat and tasted great!


The noises from the other side of the table echoed my own! I tried some squid which was delicately crisp with a tender interior and by all accounts the other two dishes were equally as good.




Our Pre-theatre feast with a bottle of wine was just a few pennies short of £40. I thought it was pretty well spent, setting us up perfectly for a night at the theatre.

Food: A decent size menu with a good selection of dishes, plenty for meat lovers, vegetarians, also always fantastic to see gluten-free and vegan options highlighted.

Service: Staff were friendly and very helpful. Service from both kitchen and the bar was quick and they are obviously used to bringing out dishes quickly and have a brisk turnover.

Atmosphere: It was a Friday evening so the place was packed and there was a real tangible buzz about the place.

I’d definitely recommend Sandinista, pre-theatre or not!

Where do you venture out for a Pre-theatre menu, where’s good?

5 Cross Belgrave St,
West Yorkshire
0113 243 0395

Sandinista! on Urbanspoon

Pre-theatre tapas @ Sandinista

I’m a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan and had tickets for Midnight Tango, with Flavia and Vincent from the show @ The Grand Theatre booked for months. The criteria for food was somewhere I’d not been to before, but was also close to the theatre. Sandinista the popular Cantina bar was the place of choice on this occasion. imageFor those of you who don’t know of Sandinista, it’s a Latino based bar that has been open since 2002, just around the corner from nearby cocktail haven Mojo. From being such a successful bar in Leeds it has also opened a sister venue Smokestack on Lower Briggate and another Sandinista in Manchester.
Even though I’d been many times for late night drinks on a Saturday, I’d never eaten there before. They had a couple of deals on offer – 3 tapas for £10 or 20% discount on food and drinks with a valid theatre ticket. We couldn’t miss an opportunity for having a cocktail as we were in one of the best cocktail bars in Leeds. We decided to partake in some cocktails of the mojito kind, so we could also reminisce about a well-loved holiday in Cuba.
Mojitos (of course!!)

They have a tapas menu with a lot of choice, both for meat eaters and vegetarians. Over the last few months I’ve been looking at places which also cater for gluten free and at least half of their menu is. Our man took a minute to go through the menu, including the specials and platters. We opted for a selection of 6 different dishes. The food took a little while to arrive (probably because we did order quite a lot of food), but they did arrive all at the same time and completely filled our table.

Gratinado de berenjas - Aubergine and tomato gratin
Gratinado de berenjas – Aubergine and tomato gratin
Croquetas de Bacalao - salt cod croquettes with aioli
Croquetas de Bacalao – salt cod croquettes with aioli
Rice and beans
Rice and beans
Tortilla - Spanish omelette with aioli
Tortilla – Spanish omelette with aioli
Alubias estofadas con panceta - roasted pork belly with a white bean and truffle cassoulet
Alubias estofadas con panceta – roasted pork belly with a white bean and truffle cassoulet
Chorizo asado - roasted chorizo with potato, onion, almond and manchego cheese
Chorizo asado – roasted chorizo with potato, onion, almond and manchego cheese

I didn’t know there to start we had so much choice, everything was yummy!! I think my favourites were the Aubergine dish – the aubergine had the right balance between being soft, but still had texture so it wasn’t like baby food. The melted mozzarella provided the seasoning and was unctuous and characteristically stringy. I loved the pork belly, with its crispy crackling and soft tender meat, it came with a tasty creamy white bean stew. Having a bowl of rice and beans will always remind my best mate and I of sitting in one of the many paladares in Havana and Trinidad. It was tasty, but not a patch on the ones we remember from those memorable Cuban evenings. The croquettes were good, possibly a little too ‘golden’ but the breadcrumb crust was light and thin and the filling was good, not too salty!! The tortilla was probably my least favourite, it was nice but a little under seasoned for my taste and more firm than I would have preferred. I will always compare tortilla to the heavenly ones I had on holiday in Northern Spain a few years ago. Where the egg bordered on being fully cooked or just runny, allowing the tortilla to have a little bit of give. All in all we enjoyed our pre-theatre meal and I was certainly very full at the end of it!!

We washed our food down with great mojitos, plenty of rum, mint and lime giving the drink its characteristic zing.

Overall the service was friendly, cocktails were great and the food was tasty. A couple of things I know i’m probably being a little picky about, but that aside I enjoyed the meal a lot.

With the 20% discount our total bill came to £35 (including tip) for 2 people. Pretty good I think, we both walked off to the theatre well fed and watered!! I’d always recommend Sandinista for drinks on a Saturday night, but I’ll also be recommending them for food now too!!

Sandinista Cantina bar

5/5a Cross Belgrave Street
0113 243 0395

Sandinista! on Urbanspoon