El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds, 35 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5JL – Visit Now
Review by Dan Curley: El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds is the latest in the El Gato empire. Originally starting life inside a pub in Ripponden before moving to King Street Manchester a few years ago, this Spanish restaurant has finally made its way back to Mother Yorkshire with this brand new addition to the family.
Birthed on the corpse of the fallen Jamie’s Italian in the heart of the city, El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds is a two-story, 200-seat foodery that’s strikingly decored with exposed brick and dark woods. Simon Shaw, Chef Patron and Creative Director behind the Manchester branch is behind the design, a large L-shaped layout with a mixture of booths and tables. It also has an open-plan kitchen so you can watch the kitchen folk rustle up your meal.
The Catalan bread with olive oil, tomato and garlic is a bread made for royalty
Commanded by head chef Oliver Brearley, the food is the high-end fare anyone who’s been to an El Gato will expect. At a small closed-off event before opening to the public, we were fed to such a degree that our jeans’ buttons almost popped off.
Signature dishes include morcilla scotch eggs with mushroom duxelle, apple purée and aioli, and for seafood lovers, the tiger prawns with chilli, garlic and lemon butter make a juicy and creamy starter.
The Catalan bread with olive oil, tomato and garlic is a bread made for royalty. The standout dish was the exquisite sweet potato which, when covered with the mango, chilli and yoghurt dressing – it looks good enough to hang on a wall in an art gallery. But it’s definitely best put in your mouth than on a wall.
A plate of chargrilled beef fillet skewers with mojo rojo were also plonked down on the table, a dish this pescetarian couldn’t partake in. Although by the number of “Mmmmms” coming from my table-sharing peers, they were clearly nice beefs.