CUISINE OF TWO COUNTRIES
There is just no other tapas dining experience in the city like that at Pintura Basque Kitchen and Bar in Trinity Street.
Specialising in the cuisine of the Basque country that straddles the Pyrenees taking in both Southern France and Northern Spain, this area is home of some of the most creative and delicious culinary delights and that’s what you will find at Pintura.
Step behind the sophisticated and designer led outside seating area with its trees and plants and through the wooden doors and your culinary travels begin in this cosmopolitan atmosphere where a myriad of flavours await your table.
Choosing a dining partner for this review was easy with a friend and foodie on one of her regular sojourns in Leeds from her pied-de-terre in Northern Spain.
The Pintura menu is an extensive one and gives you lots of information on the various origins of the food and dishes- but if you are in any doubt the welcoming and knowledgeable staff are only too eager to help.
Whilst we ploughed our way through the extensive menu we ordered two of the Pintxos Bar Classics. I am not a lover of olives but the dish of Gordal olives brought to our table really changed my mind for these were succulent and flavoursome and not overly oily.
My friend recommended the Pan Con Tomate. This crispy Spanish tomato bread with olive oil, garlic and Basque salt is one that is eaten for breakfast in Spain and came well above my friends expectations in flavour and texture.
With our meal we decided a bottle of Cune Monopole Rioja Blanco from the extensive wine list which paired well with our choice of food.
Food at Pintura is served tapas style but doesn’t give that overbearing muddle of plates feeling that tapas style often does as it comes out nicely staggered.
The menu carries a good collection of both French and Spanish cold cuts of meat and cheese. Our choice of Jamon Iberico Cebo was a good one. The thinly cut ham had a nutty flavour. It wasn’t greasy, fatty or overly salty and just melted in your mouth. Served on a wooden platter,the portion was generous and beautifully presented.
My friend opted for the Calamares Fritos and was not disappointed. The fried squid came in light crispy batter rolls rather than the usual rings. The texture was moist and not rubbery and the seasoning of garlic salt and lemon seasoning gave the dish an added kick.
We shared a delicious Pollo Crujiente – crispy chicken served with Basque Garbanzo puree and a smoky chorizo dressing. The batter was hot and crispy and the fusion of flavours brought out the succulent taste of the chicken.
I was a little disappointed with my choice of Iberico Pork Fillet that came with a Romesco sauce, crispy shallots and sage alioli. The reason being there was no indication on the menu that the pork was served pink. If I had known this I would have asked for the meat to be cooked a little more. However the portion was more than generous , the meat was tender and I was offered the option of the meat being further cooked.
Our final dish had to be the typically Spanish Patatas Bravas – a firm favourite with us both. The potatoes were crunchy and the spicy tomato sauce had just the right element of spice to it. Again the portion was generous and for a potato dish it was extremely appetizing .
When it finally came to our puddings there was only one choice for my friend – Churros. Not yet having found the perfect one in the city her wish was granted when the Churros with hot chocolate and esplette chilli appeared at the table. Texture, sweetness and presentation were one hundred percent.
I opted for the Tarta De Santiago a citrus and almond tart with orange syrup and autumn spiced ice cream. Normally I avoid sweets with the tart tag as I find them rather heavy and sometimes just too much! But this was a real heaven on a plate – it was light yet decadent and the spiced ice cream complimented it perfectly.
Pintura Bar and Kitchen can be whatever you want to make it. Ideal for lunch, early evening drinks and tapas, dinner or just a daytime coffee. For those who get really hooked on the Basque Cuisine there is an immersive wine and tapas experience consisting of a five course dinner and wine plus tips and tricks to cook your favourite dishes.
With Easter and Mothers Day around the corner maybe a gift voucher for one of these could solve your gift problems.
Pintura Basque Kitchen and Bar, 1 Trinity Street, Leeds LS1 6AP. Tel: 0113 4300915
Open: Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sunday 12-10pm – Fri/Sat 12-11pm.