Pintura

126 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

August, 2017

Product name

Pintura

Product country

Leeds

Product city

Leeds

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

A pincho (Spanish: [ˈpintʃo], literally “thorn” or “spike”), pintxo (Basque: [ˈpintʃo]) or pinchu (Asturian: [ˈpintʃu] is a small snack, typically eaten in bars, traditional in northern Spain and especially popular in the Cantabria, Asturias, the Basque country and Navarre’.
Wikipedia.

The traditional Spanish bar snack of tapas which most people will be familiar with, has a cousin, which has a distinctly different take on the dish and is called pintxo.

It was invented in the Basque region of northern Spain in the city of San Sebastian, which now has many pintxo bars offering these tasty, small plates of heaven to nibble at whilst sipping at your drink.

A long way to go for a snack, I hear you say, but there are several Basque influenced bars and restaurants around the UK and they are worth searching out.

Greg Lewis used his time in the Basque region to learn all about the dishes in this beautiful region and this inspired him to open his own Basque bar in the centre of Leeds. He is the Head Chef here and was instrumental in the restaurant opening in March 2015.

He didn’t take long to impress diners and critics alike and in the same year, the restaurant was awarded the Observer Food Monthly Award as runner up in the Best U.K. Restaurant category.

By combining the finest imported Spanish produce with the best local seasonal items, he has managed to put a British spin into the dishes.

The place is just to the rear of the hugely impressive, glass dome-roofed, Trinity Shopping Quarter in the pedestrianised centre of Leeds.

Pintura in Spanish means ‘work of art’ and indeed it is.

It is unassuming from the outside, with nothing much to suggest the delights within, but on entering I felt immediately at home. Low level lighting made the atmosphere cosy, with dark colours and intimate booths along one wall.

Several aperitifs are suggested to compliment certain pintxos on the menu.

The menu is split into sections with Pintxos, of course, followed by selections from the Charcuterie and Cheese, Meat, Fish, Salad, and Eggs & Potato sections.

There are five traditionally Spanish desserts.

Nothing on the menu is more than £15 (for a sharing board) with the majority coming in at around £7-£10 so not overly expensive by any stretch.

We couldn’t resist the tostado, toasted crusty bread loaded with freshly chopped tomatoes which were infused with olive oil and garlic. So scrummy.
We followed that up with a sharing board, which came with a selection of iberico ham, thinly sliced chorizo, pickled and piquant Guindilla chillies, cubes of pear jellies, Harrogate Blue cheese from Shepherds’s Purse, a creamy cheddar from Wensleydale Creameries and oaty biscuits.

A locally brewed Rhubarb bitter ale from Quirks at Garforth complemented the meal.

To finish, we indulged in a gin or two, which was unusual for me.

I have never been a fan of gin, having been brought up with only one or two brands and only one choice of tonic really. I was put off by the perfumed aroma and haven’t touched a drop in decades, until very recently at food fairs, when the new varieties roused my curiosity.

Nowadays, there is an explosion in new gin distilleries producing variants of straight and flavoured gin.

Tonic, too has seen a revolution in that there are many flavours of this around as well.

Unlike whisky, which must be matured in barrels for a minimum of three years before it can be bottled and sold, gin can be released as soon as the distillation process is finished, which may account for it’s popularity with producers.

Drinks are a particular speciality of the house and the famous downstairs gin bar offers more than 100 gins from all over the world. It is a very popular place to visit.
They serve a total of twelve Signature Gin and Tonics in ‘Copas’ – 12 ounce goblets.

I had a beautifully subtle Portobello Road 171 gin with 1724 tonic, lots of ice, a twist of pink grapefruit and whole juniper berries. This tonic apparently contains quinine extracted from the bark of the fever-tree, grown at a height of 1724 metres on the Inca Trail in Peru.
Special or what? It was a revelation in taste and refreshment and I will be back for more.

Cocktails are another highlight, ranging from £7.50 to £10.

There are separate, extensive Sherry, Vermouth and Wine lists with prices from £19 to £195 per bottle. All are available by the glass too.

The restaurant is open seven days a week from noon to ‘late’.

Private parties of eight or more can also order from a special menu, including that spectacular Iberian classic, whole roast suckling pig.
Now this indeed, would be a work of art.

For more information, go to www.pinturakitchen.co.uk and find the nearest car park (Trinity or the NCP on Boar Lane) to LS1 6AP.

Paul

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