Azucar, Brewery Wharf, Leeds

THIS place has yet to blip on the social scene's radar since the owners have apparently opted for the soft launch approach.

Perhaps that's because it's predecessor, gourmet fish and chip shop Battered, went for a comparatively loud opening and quietly crept into the night last year.

Taking its spot is this incredibly cosy and warming tapas bar and (although it's run by the same people behind Battered) it's a complete transformation from its formerly neutral and rather cold interior.

Now it's a grotto of red walls and dark wood furniture and, naturally, what no tapas bar would be complete without – fairy lights behind the bar.

The previously open space has now been divided up to give a more homely feel rather than feeling like you're exposed to the entire dining room.

And the food was wondrous. We went for a pretty conventional selection of tapas – the patatas bravas, omelette, prawns, meatballs and prawns and every single one was perfect.

We also went for an unusual option on the extensive menu – the chicken fajita wraps, fantastic value at 4.25. In fact everything was very reasonable at around the 4 mark.

And the portions are very hearty. So hearty, in fact, that we only had to order five items and we were merrily stuffed. So even with a couple of drinks and a tip we had a filling meal for two for less than 30.

The atmosphere was fantastic and on the Monday night we visited there was a substantial amount of punters and everyone looked to be having just as good a time as we were.

What's curious about Azucar is that it's refreshingly at odds with this part of town. While most of the bars and restaurants down by the riverside are rather polished, skimmed, minimalist affairs this has a delightful edge of bohemia to it.

It also is something of a homage to Howard Marks, a somewhat surprising local resident who's decided he wants in on the act – and it shows. Inside the loos there's a huge montage of pictures of the man himself, which is a little unsettling when you're using the urinal.

But whether it's his direct influence or not, they've got a goldmine on their hands with Azucar and if wider Leeds doesn't know about it yet word of mouth will ensure they will soon.

Rating: 5/5

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