Tag Archives: tortilla

Trinity Kitchen is OPEN @ Trinity Leeds

Trinity Kitchen is finally open to the public after months of anticipation, so I went down on the opening evening to see what all the fuss was about. I must say since Trinity Leeds opened earlier this year, I have had some mixed feelings about the place. It has good and bad points and if I’m honest, I wasn’t really sure what to make of Trinity Kitchen from early reports that I’d read. Bringing street food off the street indoors and setting them up in a food hall, sort of defeats the object, especially since Leeds already has a burgeoning street food scene with the Briggate World Feast etc. But I was really wanting to be impressed and feel that when I left it had all been worth it.

Trinity Kitchen has seven permanent restaurants, bars and cafes, all new to Leeds – Vietnamese Pho restaurant, 360 Champagne and Cocktails Bar, Chips + Fish, Notes CafePizzaLuxe and Tortilla, while a monthly rotation of street food vendors starting with Leeds based award winning Manjit’s Kitchen and The Marvellous Tea Company serving tea and cake from their vintage styled garden shed, Gurmetti selling traditional Italian foccacia and wraps from their three-wheel Piaggio van, London based Big Apple Hot Dogs and Katie & Kim (British Street Food 2013 winners) serving cuisines from all over the world will keep the Trinity Kitchen interesting.

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On arrival to the place I was loving what they had done with the space. Keeping things quite industrial with lots of bare brick walls and concrete columns, pipework and wiring on show. Lots of neon signage, bright colours from street art emblazoned on some of the walls, while other parts made use of the huge windows which look out onto Albion Street. It had a real first day buzz and a fab atmosphere. With the street food vendor carts being transported off the street into the building the place looked fantastic!!

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So what about the food then!!! I’d read on Twitter about how good the custard tarts were from Katie & Kim (British Street Food 2013 winners), I’d fallen in love with the traditional Portuguese custard tart Pastel de nata while on holiday in Lisbon, so I thought that would be a good place to start. It was REALLY yummy, nice crumbly pastry and filled with a gorgeous custard which certainly brought back fond memories of a fantastic holiday. I then had a yummy meal at London based Pho Restaurant (review to come) and even though I was now pretty full, I managed to fit in a dessert with a VERY moreish toffee apple cake from Leeds based The Marvellous Tea Dance Company.

Massive Meringues!!!
Massive Meringues!!!
Pastel de nata
Pastel de nata
Toffee apple cake
Toffee apple cake

DSC_0685At the beginning of this I said I wasn’t sure what to make of Trinity Kitchen and that I was hoping to have my mind changed for the better, I must say I was impressed with what they’ve achieved. Yes it was the first day and there was a great buzz and atmosphere about the place, but I have a feeling this is going to continue and grow and grow. From what I saw, people were loving the food and really enjoying the atmosphere as I was. With the monthly change in the street food vendors being brought in, including some from Leeds, e.g. Fish& things can only get better from what was already a great start!

If you are like me and a bit of a pessimist about the whole thing, give it a try. You might just find you like it a lot and leave with a very full belly!!

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Trinity Kitchen
27 Albion St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 5ER

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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.
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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
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
Leeds
LS28JP
0113 243 0395
http://www.sandinista.co.uk/leeds/

Sandinista! on Urbanspoon

Cielo Blanco @ Trinity Leeds

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.

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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.

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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!!!

Tortilla chips with accompaniments.
Tortilla chips with accompaniments.

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.

Tostados with spicy king prawn, chipotle and lime sour cream.
Tostados with spicy king prawn, chipotle and lime sour cream.

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Ceviche of queen scallops with East Coast mackerel.
Ceviche of queen scallops with East Coast 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.

Sharing platter - outdoor reared belly pork with authentic Oaxacan stew and sweet potato and ezapote, accompanied by guacamole, salsa, charred onion and warm wheat and hand pressed tortilla.
Sharing platter – outdoor reared belly pork with authentic Oaxacan stew and sweet potato and ezapote, accompanied by guacamole, salsa, charred onion and warm wheat and hand pressed tortilla.

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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