Chapel Allerton is a wonderful area of Leeds for anyone looking for bars and restaurants with the right atmosphere and great food. Right in the centre of the action sits a Mexican restaurant with a grand reputation, Pinche Pinche. Not knowing anything of this illustrious restaurant I was excited to see whether it would live up to the hype from food blogs and social media.
I booked my reservation at Pinche Pinche on a Friday night when the restaurant was fully booked, the atmosphere was welcoming and warming on what was a very cold January evening. The staff didn’t seem phased by working a full restaurant and still managed to make each guest feel welcome and tended to. Although there was a little wait for our table at the start of the evening we were welcomed over to the bar area for a drink and to look through the menu. The menu gave plenty of choice offering tapas as well as main meals, so it would only be fair to try both. I ordered the Spicy Cheese Balls, Sopa Azteca, Cactus Tlacoyos and the Fish Tacos from the Tapas section, the Pork Burrito from the Bigger Plates section and on the side I ordered the Refried Black Beans and the Latin American Super Food Salad.
After a while the food arrived and if it were to taste as good as it looked, then I was in for a treat. The Spicy Cheese Balls had a lovely crisp ground tortilla coating with soft creamy cheese in the centre topped with spicy salsa and guacamole. The Fish Tacos stole the show with the great tasting flakey fish accompanied with a garnish of salad and an amazing taco sauce. The only shames was we only ordered one serving.
The Pork Burrito lived up to its status in the “Larger Dishes” section of the menu. The burrito was stuffed to the brim with succulent pulled pork, pancetta, sweet figs, rich mature cheddar, black beans and the most delicious creamy avocado salsa, all served on crispy tortilla strips and toped with softened Mexican pink onions.
The Sopa Azteca is a dish I have never tried nor heard off. Its a tomato and pasilla chilli soup served with fresh avocado, tortilla strips, Oaxacan cheese and chicken. The soup was full of taste and spice that was perfectly complemented by the avocado and the Oaxcan cheese that I found similar to unaged Monterey Jack, but with the string like cheese texture of mozzarella. The Chicken was an optional extra but don’t think it was necessary for this dish as it carried itself well without.
The Cactus Tlacoyos were cactus leaves and avocado served on black bean maize flatbreads. I was hopping for a new flavour as I have never tasted cactus but I found it to taste mush like green bell peppers but nonetheless was very pleasant.
Assessing the menu I found that Pinche Pinche offers a wide choice for all tastes as well as catering for vegetarians and gluten free diets. From the dishes I ordered I found the food was full of flavours that work together well and left me more than satisfied. You get the feel that the menu has been thought out very carefully which positions itself leagues ahead of other Mexican / Tex Mex restaurants I have dined at in the past. The staff were friendly and helpful and did not seem rushed nor stressed at working a full restaurant on a Friday night. Pinche Pinche gets my overall approval and I will and have recommended this restaurant to anyone looking for an evening meal in a buzzy, friendly atmosphere and great food at good value.
Food: 5 Service: 4 Atmosphere: 5 Value: 5
Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation