City Buzz: New Mexican restaurant set to spice up ‘cultural quarter’ in Leeds

The Mex Cantina and bar in Wakefield. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson.
The Mex Cantina and bar in Wakefield. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson.
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Last year the Northern Quarter really came into its own, with a new bar and restaurant seemingly popping up every month in the Merrion Street area.

But 2016 could see another side of the city starting to thrive.

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The so-called ‘cultural quarter’ around the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet and Leeds College of Music could soon be getting a new lease of life.

OK, I know we probably have more than four ‘quarters’ now, but bear with me.

Plans are currently underway for the West Yorkshire Playhouse to get a £14m revamp, with a brand new entrance and a third theatre, which will be set within the 25-year-old building.

There are also plans to create a huge new development on the playhouse’s doorstep.

The area’s dining scene is already well established, with award-winning French restaurant Kendells Bistro, The Wardrobe and Aagrah within close proximity.

And on top of that, a brand new restaurant could be about to spice things up.

A Mexican restaurant is set to open its doors at St Peters Place and City Buzz understands the eatery could be opening as soon as next month.

The people behind Mex Cantina in Wakefield are looking to expand the business by launching new restaurant Estabulo.

Owner Zack Issak said: “We’re excited about the opportunity to work in Leeds and to develop the company.”

While Leeds’s dining scene is incredibly diverse, it is particularly lacking when it comes to Mexican restaurants, so this could help add something different for diners in the city.

Speaking about the reasons why he chose the spot for the new restaurant, Mr Issak added: “It’s an exciting time as the whole area is going through redevelopment.

“There is already a great range of restaurants and we are looking forward to joining them.”

With the ‘cultural quarter’ set to undergo a major revamp in the near future, now is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor.

Alongside the more exciting shops, bars and restaurants, the Quarry Hill proposals could also include offices, leisure facilities, a college, hundreds of flats and a multi-storey car park.

There are also provisions for a medical centre, educational spaces and a student residence at the site.

The plans were first put forward 10 years ago but were later shelved.

However last year developers presented initial details of a renewed application to Leeds City Council and have since been developing the idea.

In a report presented to the City Plans Panel last year, it said: “The proposals will regenerate a key city centre site and contribute to its life, vitality and economic prosperity.

“The scheme would potentially provide high quality and well-designed buildings which relate well to each other and the surrounding developments.”

At the time, councillor Neil Walshaw said: “It’s a really important site. We want to see more ‘wow’.”

Don’t we all! Here’s hoping the plans live up to the hype and we will have yet another section of the city to get excited about.

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