Pinche Pinche

Pinche Pinche Title

Pinche Pinche Mexican Restaurant

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.

Pinche Pinche Mexican Restaurant wall

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.Pinche Pinche Pillow

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.

Pinche Pinche Cheese Balls

Spicy Cheese Balls

Pinche Pinche Cheese Balls & Fish Taccos

Spicy Cheese Balls & Fish Tacos

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.

Pinche Pinche Burrito

Pork Burrito

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.

Pinche Pinche soup

Sopa Azteca

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.

Pinche Pinche Cactus Flat Breat & Black Beans

Cactus Tlacoyos

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

@Pinche_Pinche – pinchepinche.com

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Twisted Burger Company at Jake’s Bar – Review

Title ImageAfter being invited to review the Twisted Burger Company at their residency at Jake’s Bar Leeds we were highly anticipating new menu items from our last experience at their last residency. Jake’s Bar itself was a lively venue with a great atmosphere, the perfect setting to try some new burgers & interesting sides. Cocktail MenuBefore indulging on burgers & fries it would be considered a shame not to sample the infamous cocktails of Jake’s Bar. With a Strawberry Daiquiri & an Old Fashioned. The Strawberry Daiquiri was fresh with a good hint of sourness & definitely more-ish. The Old Fashioned smooth & warming just as this classic cocktail should be.

MenuAfter assessing the menu we were glad to see many additions to the menu for a taste of variety. The Limp Brizket & The Drop Dead Double Stuffed Falaf-Hell Burger jumped out & took my fancy. This would give the review a wider scope & allow us to share our enthusiasm of burgers to meat eaters & vegetarians alike. Our burgers will be accompanies by the Cajun Marinated Corn & the Macho Manchego Fries.

Twisted BurgersThe Drop Dead Double Stuffed Falaf-Hell Burger was a full on flavour punch. Each ingredient came through with good flavour, however the texture could have benefited from some diversity. Some crispy fried onion or fresh crunchy salad may have pushed the burger to new heights. The flavour of the Techno Burger Sauce in The Limp Brizket was very strong & unfortunately overpowered the taste of the meat & French Onion Jam. For meat lovers this could come as a slight disappointment. The Cajun Marinated Corn delivered a lovely kick of flavour & a great twist to the classic corn on the cob. The Macho Manchego Fries is a dish worth ordering with a healthy portion of beef brisket smothered in sauce & gravy.

Overall the food was plesent & the cocktails very refreshing. The bar was welcoming & had a great atmosphere, I would have no hesitation in visiting again or reommending for evening drinks. Unfortunately there are aspects of the food that need addressing, nevertheless the majority of the food was pleasant. My recommendations would be to take advantage of the cocktails at Jake’s bar & a couple of side orders to share among friends however there are better places to indulge on burgers.

Food: 2   Service: 4   Atmosphere: 5   Value: N/A

Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation

Almost Famous Coming to Leeds

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A restaurant not suited to its name as Almost Famous is well known as the mecca or burgers in the north. Almost Famous currently have two restaurants in Manchester as well as one in Liverpool & now they are answering the prayers of the residence of Leeds. They have been dishing up jaw-dropping burgers for a while and have made a strong name for themselves but state that this Leeds restaurant will be their naughtiest most mischievous adventure yet!

With plans to open by the end of the summer on George Street next to Nation of Shopkeepers they will be joining the many burger joints that have opened i Leeds over the years however, they may just bring that quirky & redial touch they are so famous for that is missing in so many of the existing burger eateries. With the level of success and popularity in both Manchester & Liverpool we have no doubt that Almost Famous with thrive in Leeds.

Many people are excited & we’re anticipating Almost Famous to be the talk of the town even long after they open. The best of luck to they new opening & looking forward to it!

Darvish – Leeds

  Darvish Restaurant

Traditional Persian Tea House & Restaurant

This particular restaurant has actually been a much anticipated occasion for me. I have received recommendations from many friends as well as seeing the restaurant on the television presented by Jamie Oliver. We arrived on a weekday evening to a brilliantly styled traditional Persian restaurant where we received a very warm welcome from the staff. The restaurant runs a bring-your-own-booze policy however they do supply a few red wines as well as the usual soft drinks but nothing too fancy. This simplicity helped focus the attention on the décor and feel of the restaurant, it felt very traditional.

Design

After looking through the menu I was enticed by most of what was to offer, for starters we ordered the Dolmeh Barg Mow which were grape vine leaves stuffed with ground lamb, rice, tarragon, slit peas and a mix of fresh herbs. Also the Kashke Bademjan was ordered which consisted of fried aubergines, walnuts, onion, garlic spices and the Darvish special sauce. The Dolmeh Barg Mow was lovely and it was the first time I have had it served hot, this really helped the flavours manifest and bring out their true properties.  The Kashke Bademjan had a strong flavour of the aubergine and walnuts and I imagine that this dish would really appeal to those who have a taste for Persian cuisine, I loved it and felt like I was given a real taste of traditional Persian food.

Starters

From experience, places like this that offer a set menu or a sharing menu for the mains provide great value and the opportunity to try many aspects of the cuisine and specialties. We decided to get the Chello Kabab Darvish that was recommended to serve 2 people. This was a selection of kababs with 2 saffron rice dishes, a naan bread and a portion of salad. This dish arrived and I was instantly amazed with the quantity that was served. This huge plate of meat kababs to share with a whole plate of rice each and a salad. Quality was not sacrificed for quantity, the meat was juicy and flavoursome, each kabab tasting distinctly different but equally as good as the rest. The rice and salad were simple but allowed the focus to be on the flavours cooked into the meat dishes.

Mains

This type of food is well recognised as being a traditionally Middle Eastern but also found in places such as Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia. With the Britain being such a multi cultural country places like this are able to thrive. My experience here was memorable due to the gorgeous food, the traditional feel and the brilliant service. This restaurant opens you’re eyes to their culture through food.

I recommend Darvish to everybody and is a great place to go with a group of friend as there is plenty to go around with the sharing dishes. The Food was delicious and very traditional, the service was ace with no long waits and very attentive staff, the atmosphere was quiet but this is to be expected on a weekday evening however it was not uncomfortable and felt very homely, finally the whole experience was great value at £30 for two starters and a large sharing main. I wish more people new about this hidden gem and will be making  return visit again very soon!

Food: 5   Service: 5   Atmosphere: 3   Value: 5

Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation

Twisted Burger Company at Aire Bar – Press Event

TBCLogo The Good Food Nation was fortunate enough to be invited to the press event for the Twisted Burger Company residency launch at the Aire Bar Leeds. I arrived for the drink reception to mingle with the other guests before tasting commenced. On arrival I was kindly offered a drink at the bar and situated myself at a table awaiting more people to arrive. The Aire Bar is not a bar that I have had the chance to visit, its rustic underground feel with the brick walls and archways and excellent view of the River Aire gave the bar a wonderful vibe. AireBar After about 45 minutes most of the guest arrived and the bar was lively and full of guests eager to try the twisted creations. First up was the This is Hardcore burger. With a two burger patties, ‘nduja sausage, american cheese topped with deep fried jalepenos and harley hot hot hot sauce, this burger was moist and flavoursome. Although tasted great, unfortunately this burger failed to meet expectations as it was not as spicy as the name and ingredients suggest.
Burger 1

While waiting for the next burger to circulate around the masses there was a table where a selection of the sides were being displayed for tasting. The first side tasted was the Regular Joe Fries that were as expected, regular skinny fries with a light seasoning of salt, standard but tasty. Next I tried the two coleslaws, the Twisted Slaw that was just a basic coleslaw and nothing too special and the Asian Slaw that had no mayo and tasted very fresh and would go well with most meals.

After my first taste of the sides the next burger arrived, the Holy Cluck. This burger is the first chicken burger that I have experienced that was made like a beef burger. The chicken was processed into a patty made from chicken thigh and liver. This allowed the patty to retain more moist unlike a chicken breast and the use of chicken thigh and liver provided a lot more flavour. The flip side to this is that the liver was quite a potent flavour and if your not a fan of chicken liver this could come as a surprise to some. I fro one love chicken liver and thought the burger tasted great and the flavour with the chorizo just worked. However even for a chicken liver lover the appearance was not all that great. This could be due to this type of patty not being that commonly used or seen, I think it may need some getting used to. People have become a custom to the way a beef burger looks, with the minced beef however this is not yet the case with chicken.

Burger 2Next I got a taste of the The Hellfire Fries that were fantastic, they had a glorious chilli flavour with a whopping kick. These fries had a ghost chilli seasoning that would satisfy any spice lover. This was the kick I was looking for in the This is Hardcore burger. The Crack ‘N’ Cheese was creamy and the right consistency, many restaurants and bars make mac n cheese either too dry or too wet but this was beautiful. The final of the side tried was the Jalepenos Business Fries, these were what I can only describe as fries prepared like nachos, they looked great and the idea was brilliant, but I feel that they had room for improvement, all the tastes were just ok, nothing jumped out with flavour.

fries Unfortunately due to there being far to many people at the event and that only a handful of  the burgers and sides making it out of the kitchen I did not get a chance to try and review any of the other dishes. This was slightly disappointing as I was very much looking forward to tasting the Return of the Mac burger, the Pig Daddy Kane burger and the Big Popper Bits.

Burger3&4
This event managed to give everyone there a taste of what the Twisted Burger Company is made of. A “great” burger is an interesting thing, everyone has different preferences and although I was not massively impressed with what I tried in terms of burgers it was enough to spark my curiosity, I believe that given the chance to try one of the other burgers on the menu that unfortunately were not offered at the event I would have a very different opinion.

This review is from an experience in an organised press event and I am scheduled to go back to the Aire Bar for the food and bar again later this month to give a review that is not taken place this environment so stay tuned.

Food: 3   Service: N/A   Atmosphere: 4   Value: N/A

Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation

Salvo’s – Abruzzo Tasting Evening

 

imagesGood Food Nation discovered that Salvo’s in Headingley was hosting an Abruzzo tasting evening along with information about foodie tours and holidays around particular parts of Italy. I immediately got booked in and I was excited to attend as I had never have the privilege of trying Authentic Abruzzo food.

Hosting the event was son of Salvatore Dammone who opened the restaurant in 1976, Gip Dammone. He welcomed and helped sit everyone individually and immediately showed his passion for his restaurant and his heritage. My partner and myself were seated with a couple from Australia who have been travailing the world, working in the different countries they visited to get the real experience of living in the different cultures.  Assisting the running of the evening was a man called Stefano Merlocchi who lives in Italy and organises tours and activities of people visiting Pescara, the region if Italy where Abruzzo cuisine originates.

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“You can get more information about Abruzzo Tour Gourmet at: http://www.abruzzotourgourmet.com

At the start of the evening there was a talk about the food and its origin, all the food that was tasted came with Stefano from Pescara and couldn’t be more authentic. We started the evening off with three olive oils, bread and pickled vegetable sides. Traditional Abruzzo food is very vegetable orientated with any meat that is eaten is usually either lamb or mutton. The pickled vegetable dishes and a toasted bread with vegetable pâté tasted fresh and flavoursome and the olives were succulent and almost meaty.

Bread PatePickled Veg

 

The Abruzzo red wine that had been brought over by Stefano was a smooth, full bodies wine that complemented the food well. The next taste of Italy I experienced was three cheeses and fruit jams. The three cheeses tasted very different from one another but all tasted great however the one that stands out for me was the dark yellow, almost orange cheese with a brown crust (Left side of picture). Like all the cheeses I tasted it was made from unpasteurised milk and however this cheese was made by the curds draining and mature in old wine barrels to add aroma and flavour.

Cheese

Following the cheese selection Gip served up pasta dish made from pasta that they ship from a small producer in Italy that make the pasta the traditional way, dried naturally giving it a whole new texture than you would find in the typical supermarket products. The pasta had a slight chew to it and the sauce was a rich but fresh tomato sauce served with a light topping of cheese. From this dish I began to understand the whole ethos of italian cooking. Simplicity is the key and by using good quality ingredients shows that you can turn a plain tomato pasta dish into the signature dish of the evening.

To finish off the night we were served two italian biscuits with fruit inside, the texture was almost shortbread like but sweeter and slightly less crumbly. Along with a bit more wine we proceeded the evening with great company with the couple on our table as well as having an opportunity to talk with Gip about Pescara and his experiences, the food and the products shipped here.

pasta

The evening exceeded all expectations, I have been to a number of events orientated around promoting tours and foodie holiday however this event had a very different approach. There was no pressure from a hard sell and there was no long tedious lectures, the evening had everyone completely focus on the food which spoke for itself. The food was sensational and the subtle differences like the traditionally made pasta and the pickled vegetables took what I thought I knew about traditional italian food to the next level. There service was good and the hospitality by Gip and his staff was welcoming and genuine. For value, well the evening was a free tasting event with only drinks to pay for so the evening was great value, even when purchasing some pasta, tomato sauce, olive oil and fig jam to take home and experiment with. I left feeling like I had touched the surface of  traditional Abruzzo food and a want to travel to Pescara to get the full experience. Salvo’s has a strong recommendation from me and I look forward to going back to review the main restaurant.

Food: 4   Service: 4   Atmosphere: 5   Value: N/A

Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation

 

The Alchemist – Leeds

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For a special occasion I found myself having some celebratory drinks in The Alchemist in the Trinity Centre Leeds. My fiancé’s father was in town visiting over his birthday and the night started and ended with cocktails in this quirky styled bar.

Although no food was eaten this bar is still very much worth a review from purely the drinks, service and atmosphere. We arrived to find all the customers relaxing with friends and having a good time. The atmosphere was exactly what you would hope for in a bar of this type. The menu was not exactly limiting, with over 50 cocktails to chose from as well as an array of wines, soft beverages, hot drinks and mocktails. There are the classics like the Long Island Ice Tea and Pina Colada as well as a few twists of the originals like the Maple Manhattan and a Bubblegum Mojito, then there are a few unknowns that tickle your curiosity like the Dead Red Zombie and Big Al’s Porn Star. All of which we tried tasted astonishing! 

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Maple Manhattan – Wild Turkey bourbon stirred with Antica Formula and aromatic bitters. crowned with lemon and maple syrup foam and grapefruit zest. 

When you consider other cocktail bars that make cocktails at a price of about £6.99 each where the drinks are average to say the least and the amount of drink for your buck is almost daylight robbery, at The Alchemist your looking at spending only a few extra quid to get a get a drink that is 2-fold better than the other bars around. All the drinks are professionally made right in front of your eyes using techniques that will make you take a second glance. The staff who make the drinks make the whole experience entertaining and memorable.

smoky

 

For the type of bar The Alchemist is I found that the atmosphere was great, people laughing, having fun and even relaxed enough that complete strangers would start chatting and socialising. The drinks were outstanding and could see myself learning more about how to make a good cocktail to try and replicate their creations. The service was the best I have received in a long time. The Bar staff were friendly, involved and great with all the different types customers. The cost of the evening was on the higher end for drinks however I don’t see drinks just being cheap as value, the quality was on par if not exceeding the cost so in my opinion The Alchemist is also good value.

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My personal favourite drink of the evening, the Smokey Old Fashioned – Wild Turkey bourbon, maple syrup, Jerry Thomas’ Bitters, oak smoke and an ice ball. 

For the great night we had and the quality of the experience I give The Alchemist a strong recommendation to anyone looking to have a upbeat social night out with friends who are looking for a but of an entertaining evening with quirky and even unconventional drinks.

Drinks: 4   Service: 5   Atmosphere: 5   Value: 5

Review issued by Jonathan – Good Food Nation