Pinchjo’s, 192 Burton Road, Manchester, M20 1LH – Visit Now
Review by Chris Patrick
Restaurants on Burton Road can be small. They can also be intensive, and are sometimes a place to be seen rather than a place to eat. For those of us born transparent and hungry, this is not so much fun.
A tapas bar, on the other hand, is essentially a human refuge. The idea is not to climb the food chain but to eat it. You are supposed to share the food and be talkative. Pinchjo’s gets this exactly right: you step in from the dark rainy night into a friendly, intimate space with relaxing music and wooden furniture and Spanish posters.
The tequenos come wrapped in crumbly pastry, creating a texture unlike anything else
I say you’re supposed to share the food, but this time I didn’t – I broke this rule for you. I ordered the morcilla, the calamares and the halloumi, bookended by cheese tequenos for a starter and toffee tequenos for dessert.
The tequenos come wrapped in crumbly pastry, creating a texture unlike anything else – they’re like breadsticks but not. They were set off well by a spiced chutney.
The halloumi fell upon my senses with a wave of spinach and oregano – for the vegetarians, you are well served here. The herbs had been chosen to compliment the cheese, which had been fried to just the right squeak. The bed of salad was not ‘decorative’ either – it did look good but it was also fresh and crunchy.
The calamares offered a different kind of crunch to the tequenos, showing off two different uses of flour – the batter was lightly and carefully spiced, served with a nice paprika mayonnaise. Philistines accuse the squid of being a rubbery beast, but they lose out – done properly as here, the flesh is thick and substantial but all pleasure and no chore. It reaches the bit of your palate fish reaches but is warmer and smokier.
The herbs had been chosen to compliment the halloumi, which had been fried to just the right squeak
The morcillas are a kind of black pudding. Now you know what a black pudding is – except you don’t if you’ve not had a morcilla. Like the British magpie and the Spanish urraca, the two are the same but very different.
Morcillas – and especially these morcillas – are grainy, rich and deep. They contain more of the good stuff – blood – and less of the rusk. Each one is a little world of darkness to spend a while in. They imparted this darkness to the mushrooms and green beans they were served with.
The dessert tequenos contained toffee and Oreo, expertly combined. Between the gateway of the tequenos I had found a garden of delights and my transparency had acquired a glow.