Somehow the weather always seems to hold for us Yelping folk here in Leeds, and such was the case last Thursday the 19th July, when some forty plus folk descended upon one of Leeds' finest, and longest-running stalwarts on the bar scene. That's right, our fabulous community had the honour of attending yet another exclusive event, which was the grand menu launch for Sandinista! Cantina Bar's latest gourmand offerings – lovingly and creatively put together by no less than Simon Ord and Anthony Flinn. (Owner of Sandinista! and owner of Anthony's, respectively.)
And so it was that some of Leeds finest press community, notably North Leeds Life and Yorkshire Post, joined the Yelp Elites for a beautifully relaxed evening of tasting, scoffing, and delectable cocktails in the laid back atmosphere of Sandinista! Cantina Bar. First on the agenda were the welcome drinks and, as everyone arrived, the fantastic staff prepped a selection of four reviving libations for folks to take their pick of.
As folks had a mingle, either reminding themselves fondly of the space, or taking it in anew for the first time, they supped away on the range of refreshing drinks. Hazel G, of Luscious Liquids, lovingly met everyone's requests, and served up a fantastic range of cocktails that included Arette Tequila, Bulldog Gin, Appleton Estate rum, and Pama pomegranate liqueur, all freshly made. *For a list of the drinks, see at the bottom!
"The cocktails were delicious and a-plenty! I really like tequila and I think it is not used enough in cocktails… not any more! That lemony tequila one was AMAZING and now shall be a regular in my household! Whoop!" April K
Whilst some guests had only known Sandinista! as a place of carousal, deep into a weekend night, it was the perfect opportunity for folks to (re)discover it as a place of divine cuisine, relaxation, expert cocktails, and of course, the place to get the party started, as day moves into night! But, it was primarily an evening of palatable sapidity on this night, as everyone soon discovered.
"I'm new to the Yelp community, and I really enjoyed this exclusive event, which was my first. The food was delicious and plentiful, the cocktails were authentic and delightful." Asaf C
Firstly came appetisers in the form of freshly baked breads, oils and dips, which were swiftly followed by some seafood fare, that will fast make Sandinista! famous about town. Most notably for some were the salt cod croquettes, and calamari, all of which were consumed as swiftly as they came. *For a full list of the menu, see at the bottom!
"The real standout stars of the evening however were the staff: they were all so friendly. It can't be easy to whiz around providing free drinks and tapas to hordes of hungry people, but they did it with a smile on their faces." Hannah J
The journey of edible delights quickly moved on to delightful patatas bravas, pimientos del padron, and feta stuffed peppers, which kept everyone's mouths aroused and tastebuds teased whilst the drinking and cavorting continued.
"What a night, the food was amazing, of course the cocktails helped get me in the social spirit, but everything i tried i would come back and have as a main." Joe C
As if the bringers of food would never cease feeding the masses, once several more incredibly mouth watering plates were delivered (including tender rump steak, pork loin, pulled pork with squid ink rice for the meatier munchers) the pinnacle dish arrived. A spaceship sized steaming dish of fresh paella, enough to make each person's eyes as wide as saucers. Without announcement an impromptu round of applause erupted out, by the guests, for such a feat!
"These dishes though were just the lead up to main event of the evening, the paella. This thing was HUGE. Really. Search Google Images for 'Jodrell Bank radio telescope' and imagine that, on its side, piled high with rice, chicken, squid, and langoustines. And it was really good." Matt W
And were we done? Not a chance. Soothing the savoury, came sweet solice, with their sublime desserts – almond covered chilli chocolate tarts and Crema Catalana. Despite almost being defeated by such a feast, every last Yelper managed a mouthful or two of the final course, and savoured each morsel. To end the night, everyone stayed on to polish off the remainder of those epic cocktail jugs, which lent us enough time to present Ben H his award for the PhotoHunt of June, as part of Yelp's Passport To Leeds City Centre – congrats to Ben for his fabulous winning picture!
"The gastronomic highlight for me was chili chocolate tart at the end, which was absolutely amazing." Chris T
Never has the Yelp community seen such a merrymaking, such a banquet, before! And so this brings me to lay down an immense appreciation to Sandinista! Cantina Bar, Katy, Cat, Kevan, Angela, and all their fabulous staff for the efforst to which they went, and the generosity bestowed upon Yelp Leeds! Thanks go out to Hazel, of Luscious Liquids for the fine libations, and Matthew Kitchen for his happy papping and fab snaps. Want to see the gossip? Check the reviews and pictures right here! Want to grab a taster of that delicious looking grub? Get on it and book a table – you won't be disappointed…
That's it from me, so until the next glorious event, I'll be seeing you on the Yelp side. Boom!
Appleton VX & Ginger Beer:
Exactly what it says on the tin
Appleton Estate Treacle:
Appleton VX rum with apple juice & a dash of bitters,
stirred Old Fashioned style
Bulldog London Lemonade:
Bulldog gin, lemon and sugar, topped with lemonade
Arette Blanco tequila with Ting
Pama Bay Breeze:
Pama Pomegranate, vodka cranberry and pineapple
Arroz de Cerdo g
Pulled pork with squid ink rice
Bistec Marinado g
Marinated rump steak with tomato garlic dressing and spring onions
Squid pieces with aioli
Croquetas de Bacalao
Salt cod croquettes with aioli
Pimientos del Piquillo v
Piquillo peppers stuffed with feta cheese, tomato sauce and a saffron crumb
Patatas Bravas g v
Deep fried potato in a tomato sauce
Mixed platter of Spanish meats and cheeses served with a selection of bread and pickles
Lomo Adobado g
Sweet cured pork loin with sautéed potatoes, butter beans and wild mushrooms
Tarte de Sandinista v
Chilli chocolate tart with flaked almonds
Crema Catalana v
Set Catalana cream with burnt caramel crust