RE-CREATED AT ELGATO NEGRO
Although travel to sunny climes has gone out of the window for some time there’s nothing to stop us enjoying the culinary magic of some of our favourite destinations right on our doorstep.
El Gato Negro is sheer tapas heaven! Situated in the former iconic bank building in Park Row its become a firm favourite with Leeds & West Yorkshire diners and its not hard to understand why.
The secret of its success is award winning Chef Patron, Simon Shaw’s talent for creating bold and confident dishes based on fresh seasonal ingredients and modern traditional flavours and techniques.
“It’s a constant and evolving process to ensure that the menu is always fresh and interesting. As a chef it feeds and satisfies my passion to be creative and to push and the push to be constantly better”, says Simon.
El Gato Negro has integrated social distancing and the government rules with panache and sophistication and needs congratulating for this.
Tapas is a great shareable dining experience and who better to share it with than my friend, who spends a lot of time in Spain, and has become an authority on its various regional cuisines and wines.
Tapas is Spain’s favourite dining pastime. It’s a social way of eating and sharing food, wine and conversation with friends and family. El Gato Negro recommends you order five or six dishes to share between two people but adds ‘you can always order more – later’ That’s the fun of Tapas.
Following the Spanish trend of starting the meal with a cocktail we were swayed by the mixes of these cocktails. My friend’s Pina Colada Rebujito paid homage to the Andalusia region famous for its sherry and Rebujito. It consisted of gin, amontillado, pineapple and coconut and was very refreshing.
Known the world over Pornstar Martinis are a classic but El Negro’s version is world’s apart. It has taken the Valencia’s regional drink Aqua De Valencia and the usual vodka, cava, orange and passionfruit and made the ultimate cocktail. Beautifully presented it comes with an edible flower.
Our first dish was a sharing Charcuterie board. This consisted of six generous portions of meat, cheese and Torta. The Jamon Serrano was very good and moist as sometimes it can be quite dry; whilst the Monte Enebro goats cheese had a creamy smooth flavour, whilst I simply adored the aged Manchego cheese with orange blossom honey. The quince jelly was a great addition to the platter it just melted in the mouth, in fact the whole platter was a skilfully balanced selection of tastes and according to my friend “ so very Spanish”.
From the Fish and Shellfish section we could not resist the Tiger Prawns. Again this was a generous portion of succulent prawns served with chilli, garlic and lemon butter, which was beautifully mild and didn’t overpower the flavour of the shellfish.
From the meat section I couldn’t resist the Meatballs served in a tomato fritarda sauce. The Meatballs were not too spicy and their texture was smooth, not gritty and they just melted in your mouth.
No Spanish table is complete without Patatas Bravas. These were served nice and hot and the spiced tomato fritards sauce and aioli gave this dish an added dimension.
Our other choice from the Vegetables section was Navarrico chickpeas with tomato sauce, spinach and crumbled feta. I am not a lover of chickpeas but this dish won me over. This was a vegetable dish made in heaven. The tomato sauce was not overly spicy and the cheese made the perfect contrast to the vegetables.
It’s worth mentioning that El Gato has an excellent well priced wine list and a unique selection from independent producers and if you want to pair your wine most are available by the glass.
Highly recommended is the Bodegas Navajas Blanco one of the 10% of white Riojas produced.
When the time for my heaven on a plate came I was really over the moon with my Almond tart served with a salted caramel Chantilly cream. The pastry was light and the almond filling was moist. My friend’s Nougat and Caramel cheesecake got the thumbs up not only for taste but for presentation. It came in a glass with a chocolate wafer and tasted just as good as it looked.
Elgato Negro can be anything you want it to be at any time of the day. It’s a relaxed space with eclectic décor, ornate tiled floors, pendant lighting, exposed brick walls, trailing plants all that make it the perfect setting for the food it serves.
Elgato Negro, 35 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5JL. W:elgatonegrotapas.com/leeds. Tel: 0113 3220763.
Please check the website for opening times and how to reserve tables in line with the Government guidelines.
At the moment the restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday
Open: Wed & Thursday 5.00pm – 10.00pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 12 noon to 10.00pm.