Pinche Pinche, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton review - Bringing Mexican street food to the Leeds suburbs
Pinche Pinche's mission has always been to bring authentic Mexican street food to the suburbs of north Leeds.
Owner Simon Heath spent a year working in Mexico City, where lived next door to a taqueria - a restaurant specialising in tacos and street food - so he knows what it's all about.
The result is a menu that features not only the more obvious burritos and nachos but also the likes of sopes, tlacoyos and chilaquiles.
Set in the middle of a row of shops in Chapel Allerton's Harrogate Road, Pinche Pinche doesn't stand out in the same way as some of the area's other restaurants and bars with their outdoor seating and canopies.
Inside is pretty understated too with wooden floors, simple tables and a little bar in the corner, although the music and vibrant orange walls covered in framed film posters and old pictures liven things up and give a nod to Mexican culture.
There's a nice laid back feel and a warm welcome from the staff, who quickly set us up a table as they reset tables for the evening service.
What's the menu like?
There's a lunch menu featuring taco dishes, salads and tortas - Mexican sandwiches - and a children's menu.
The evening menu's focus is on tapas dishes and bigger plates, with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diners well catered for.
And the drinks?
There's the usual mix of wine, beers, spirits and soft drinks to cover the key bases, but those wanting to experience a taste of Mexico can also choose margaritas from the cocktail menu or sample the range of tequilas and mezcal on offer.
Wimping out completely, I went for a gin-based Bramble cocktail (£6.95) while the other half went for the 2.5% ABV Schofferhofer grapefruit wheat beer (£4.30) in the absence of any alcohol-free beers.
Now onto the food...
If you're going for the tapas, then the recommendation is that you pick two or three dishes each. Naturally we went for three and our waiter had to annex the empty table next to us to fit all the plates on as they arrived.
The hibiscus flower quesadilla (£6.95) oozed mature cheddar and came served with a spicy arbol salsa, while the fish in the tacos (£6.95) was delicately battered and moist.
I'm not entirely sold on beans but it didn't stop me tucking into the sope (£6.50) - a crispy sweet potato and maize tart filled with black beans, Chinese leaf and pico de gallo and cashew crema.
I also glad I set aside my general avocado avoidance policy to try the tlacoyos - black bean and maize flatbreads topped with cactus and avocado. When else am I going to get catcus in Chapel Allerton?
Our favourite dishes though were the mini burrito (£6.50) that came packed with beef brisket, mixed peppers and plenty more, and the pork chilaquiles (£6.95) - fried tortillas smothered with salsa verde, black beans, carnitas pork, cheese and sour cream.
If you save room, you can treat yourself to the likes of Mexican churros with dark chocolate sauce; pistachio and caramel chocolate brownie; tequila, chocolate and almond ice cream, or lime cheesecake.
Is it good value?
Our final bill came to £50.05 but that was great value when you consider we'd shown very little restraint with the volume of dishes we ordered.
Those looking for a bargain can take advantage of an early bird menu (Mon-Thurs, 5pm-7pm, and Fri, 5pm-6.30pm) with three tapas dishes for £15 and two for one cocktails.
Absolutely - we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Mexican street food and will definitely be going back again to enjoy another round of tapas before too long.
Address: 116a Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 4NY
Telephone: 0113 268 1110
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 5pm-late; Sat, 11.30am-3.30pm and 5pm-late; Sun, noon-8.30pm.