Neon Cactus, 35 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BT – Visit Now
Neon Cactus is situated in the heart of Leeds City Centre, on Call Lane. They’re masters of authentic Mexican cuisine, serving up tacos, burritos and nachos. All dishes are traditional Mexican street food so has quite the kick.
We’re met at the door by some wonderful staff – though it is more of a show-yourself-to-a-table-and-order-at-the-bar place. With multi-coloured patterns on the walls, gold-framed portraits and Sugar Skulls painted all around, it evokes the sunny beaches of Mexico. It all makes for a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a hungover Sunday or for food and cocktails with a group of friends.
Multi-coloured patterns on the walls, gold-framed portraits and Sugar Skulls painted all around
We start off by ordering a classic margarita. There’s an extensive drinks menu, with amazing cocktails, all mainly tequila-based. The margarita is a perfect way to start the meal. We also tried ‘A Quick Peach-around,’ a gin-based cocktail, and if you like iced tea you’ll love this. Super sweet and refreshing.
While deciding what to order, we got a bowl of totopos and salsa verde to share. Totopos are a corn product like a tortilla, toasted, fried or baked. They’re delicious when dipped into the salsa verde, which had a lovely warm kick to it.
Next came the ‘Elotes’ which is corn on the cob coated in guajillo and lime mayo and a tortilla crumb. This is next-level compared to a plain piece of corn on the cob. The coating is packed full of flavour and, like most of their dishes, had quite the kick. At the same time, we got the ‘Rollie Gang,’ green chorizo spring rolls, served with some excellent guacamole and another pot of their salsa verde. The flavour of these was wonderful, well-seasoned with a crispy pastry.
Next, the mains. Firstly, the ‘Carnitas’ burrito. The burrito is huge and great value at just £8.95. It’s a soft tortilla wrap stuffed with barbecue pork carnitas, rice, cabbage and more, with just a nice little kick of spice but not too spicy that it ruined the taste. The meat is tender and melts in the mouth.
We also order a portion of tacos. ‘Chippy Tea’, which is market-fresh fish tempura, malt vinegar mayo, tartare salsa and matchstick fries, served on a soft tortilla wrap. The fish is flaky, soft and well-seasoned, with a great addition of crunch from the matchstick fries.
Leaving the best til last, we sample a huge bowl of crispy fried confit chicken wings. These come with a selection of different marinades to pick from, ranging in spice from mild to hot. We order the Korean gochjang and these were easily my favourite. Admittedly, I struggle to eat these due to the burritos and tacos, but they were just too good to leave. The chicken was impressively tender and juicy, in a crispy coating, covered in a sticky spicy sauce – delicious.
Neon Cactus is a great, quirky place, and everything arrives piping hot, freshly cooked and so well flavoured. And the staff topped off the whole experience. It’s a superb place to head down with friends for a tequila-fuelled, spicy packed day. You won’t regret it!
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.