Review: Lupe's Cantina, Hyde Park - Mexican spice with a Leeds flair

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What springs to mind when you think of Mexico? Unless you're into your political history or the exploits of 1990s goalkeeping legend Jorge Campos, it's probably the cuisine.

I've long wondered why there aren't more Mexican restaurants around West Yorkshire, given the country's place in the Champions League of Cuisine, but Leeds still has a reasonable selection.

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Lupe's Cantina has been a staple of Hyde Park life since 2016, and boasts a varied food menu. But it was mainly the drinks we were there for.

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Lupe's Cantina in Hyde Park. (Pic: Gary Longbottom)Lupe's Cantina in Hyde Park. (Pic: Gary Longbottom)
Lupe's Cantina in Hyde Park. (Pic: Gary Longbottom)

We were lucky to be visiting on a balmy summer evening, as it allowed us to enjoy the rustic central American ambiance, along with a nice view of a nearby lumber yard.

So what better choice of drink could I make than a Pina Colada? The pineappley mix of creamy and refreshing is the perfect backdrop to the summer weather.

Having gone with a number of friends, we were able to peruse the ample cocktail menu.

One friend had the honey martini - a hint of the espresso martini with added sweetness - as well as the mango margarita, described alarmingly as fruity, fresh and "like there was no alcohol - I could drink millions".

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If you like Pina Coladas, this could be the place for you. (Pic: Richard Beecham)If you like Pina Coladas, this could be the place for you. (Pic: Richard Beecham)
If you like Pina Coladas, this could be the place for you. (Pic: Richard Beecham)

A fine selection of beers were also available, as well as the possibility of large jugs of margaritas to serve five or six. It doesn't only have to be alcohol, as a range of fruity Mexican soft drinks are also available.

So did we have any food with our drinks? Of course we did!

The cactus salad was an unusual menu item but one that was gleefully gobbled by the group - grilled cactus, atop vegetables, cheese and a lime dressing, it was impossible not to want more.

The Mexican potatoes, cooked in oil and chilli, were an upgrade on the classic British chip, and how could I not be tempted by the inclusion of enchiladas verdes on an already vibrant menu. Spicy, sharp and satisfying.

As I sat there in the warm sunshine, taking in the drinks, great food and conversation, I was reminded that warm summer days like these don't last for too long during the year, so we should make the most of them while we can.

Address: 204-206 Cardigan Road, Hyde Park, LS6 1LF


Monday 5pm - 9pm

Tuesday to Thursday noon - 9pm

Friday & Saturday noon - 9.30pm

Sunday - Closed

Atmosphere: 8

Drinks: 9

Value: 8

Service: 8