Mediterranean tapas restaurant Dos Amigos had been on my radar for some time as, having lived nearby for a while, I’m often tempted by the amazing smells that filter out into the street corner it’s based on in Kirkstall.
It’s located just over the road from the historical Abbey ruins, so it’s perhaps no surprise that when we first try to get a table on a Saturday night, we’re politely turned down because of the full house.
We try again at tea time during the week when it’s nearly empty, though it soon fills with diners and an atmosphere to match. It’s one of those places that’s small - intimate – enough that there’s really no bad place to sit.
Although billed as Mediterranean, it’s mainly Spanish in theme, and charming at that, with posters about bullfighting and other trinkets referencing the country in all corners.
Pictures of children who are presumably the owner’s family are proudly hung near to the bar, and the lone waitress was bright and accommodating throughout.
The menu was extensive and it all looked great. With a vegetarian sitting opposite me we were able to give it a fair go – truly taking advantage of the three-for-two tapas deal (between 5.30pm-7pm everyday) by – a confession here – ordering nine dishes between us.
They were (deep breath): pan fried sliced chorizo rosario in red wine (£5.75); pollo plancha – chicken breast marinated in harissa, lemon juice and olive oil (£6.75); peperoni ripieno – roast sweet pepper filled with spicy pork and mozzarella cheese (£5.45); jalapenos filled with cream cheese (£5.35); Spanish omelette (£3.95); arroz picante - saffron infused rice with onion, fresh chilli and peppers (£4.70); puy lentils slow cooked in tomato sauce, harissa and lemon juice (£4.90); garlic mushrooms in a cream, white wine and garlic sauce (£4.70); and patatas bravas (£3.95). All together with the deal and including pint of Birra Moretti and bottle of Estrella this came to a very reasonable £37.15. It all arrives very soon, and somewhat unusually for tapas, all at the same time.
We reach quite a divided verdict. My friend said everything she had was “absolutely gorgeous” and can’t wait to return. But I felt that - aside from the pollo plancha, which was zesty and tender – it was missing something. The chorizo was a bit bland, the stuffed peppers a tad unappetising and the patatas bravas a little on the soggy side.
Dos Amigos is family-run, friendly, clearly popular and has been around long enough to entitle it to the odd off-day.
With my friend’s thoughts in mind, along with its really pleasant atmosphere, I’d be happy to give it another try.