SIMPLY THE BEST TAPAS RESTAURANT IN TOWN
Situated between Park Row and Bond Street, El Gato Negro Tapas Restaurant is a fabulous addition to the Leeds restaurant scene.
The moment you enter the stunning Yorkshire clad stone former bank the eclectic style of décor will just take your breath away. There’s greenery amongst highly polished tables, sinkable leather seating and expertly placed pictures and objects that add to the atmosphere plus the most divine restaurant lighting you can ever imagine. Yet although its big the spacing of the tables and the different designs of each section make it feel very intimate. Ascend the highly polished oak staircase and upstairs is just as breath-taking with a chef’s table and great window views.
This restaurant has been bursting at the seams with customers since it first opened in November as award winning Chef Patron, Simon Shaw has a reputation for creating bold and confident dishes based on the fresh seasonal ingredients. Shaw uses the best modern and traditional flavours and techniques and his Manchester and Liverpool restaurants are the hottest ticket in town!
When its time to review Spanish restaurants and tapas I always make sure its when my friend is home from Spain as I value her culinary knowledge and expertise.
The Elgato Negro menu recommends that for two people you chose five or six dishes which we did. It’s an easy to follow menu set out in sections.
We chose from each section starting with Deep-friend Monte Enebro Cheese with orange and rosemary honey. This was an unusual combination and the orange gave the cheese a tang taking away any greasy taste.
The portions, of all our courses, were generous and came from the kitchen hot. Our next tapas was from the fish and shellfish section and we chose the tiger prawns with chilli, garlic and lemon butter. The prawns were big and juicy and the lemon butter was delicious and unlike many restaurants the waiter brought a finger bowl without us having to ask.
From the vegetable selection we decided on cauliflower cheese croquetas. These were very light and rather like a souffle but still retained the cauliflower taste.
It took us a while to decide on our dish from the charcuterie section but we chose Picos Blue cheese with caramelised walnuts. This is a strong characterful Spanish cheese with a creamy texture and the walnuts balanced the flavour very nicely.
The restaurant has a very good wine list with a unique selection from independent producers and most are available by the glass for those want to pair their wine with their food. It had to be a Spanish wine for us and we decided on Bodegas Navajas Blanco – a white Rioja. Only 10% of Rioja’s are white and are not widely available in restaurants but when you taste this you wish they were. This particular one got us thinking of red applies and grapefruit as we drank it.
Our meat selection was chargrilled chicken and spring onion skewers with shabu shabu sauce and crispy shallots which my friend declared was excellent whilst I savoured my all time favourite of Meatballs. These arrived in a tomato fritarda sauce that was flavoursome and had a strong taste of fresh tomatoes which went well with the meatballs smooth and tasty texture.
The restaurant has an excellent choice of sweets. My heaven on a plate was the caramelised vanilla and banana rice pudding. It was creamy, smooth and piping hot and there was an exceptionally large portion of this very tasty pudding. I could well have gone to the kitchen and uttered ‘please sir could I have some more!’ My colleague opted for the nougat caramel cheesecake and was not disappointed. It was obviously home made, like my pudding and the flavours blended beautifully.
Elgato Negro is the type of place you just never want to leave. It’s great for lunch or dinner and has two different moods for each part of the day – and I must say it’s a very romantic place at night if you are planning a Valentine surprise.
Elgato Negro Tapas 35 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5JL. Tel: 0113 322 0763
Open: Mon to Thurs 12.noon to 11.00pm; Fri & Sat 12 noon to 1.00am; Sunday 12 noon to 10.30.