The #EatLeeds food week is a great opportunity to try somewhere new using one or two (or, ahem, four or five) of the fabulous offers available during the festival.Ambiente Tapas situated on trendy ‘Calls Lane’ was tempting punters with 3 dishes for £10. Who am I to resist gourmet tapas with a Yorkshire twist from this well recommended independent?A traditional building commanding a super central spot continued its theme inside. The Spanish word ‘Ambiente’ roughly translates to the atmosphere of a place. But in Spain, ambiente relates more to the unique atmosphere of the local ‘tabanco’ as family and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company. It’s exactly this that this establishment has captured so adequately.
The welcome, the rich colour palette with wooden floors and subdued lighting and the indulgent menu all suggest Ambiente is getting it just right. We are shown to our table right by the row of wooden patio doors leading out onto the balcony over the river -the light streams in but doesn’t intrude.Being an independent means local Yorkshire suppliers can be used as well as authentic, high quality Spanish producers -we can’t wait for our selection to come to the table.
We went for a mixture of fish and meat tapas -to share of course, and when it came to the table each dish looked delightful. Upon eating, it was also evident that great care had been taken over not just the presentation, but also the ingredients and flavours. Just the right size portions of quality morsels and a helping of warm rosemary bread and dipping oils.We ate calamari -the lightest of tempura batter and expertly executed cooking of the squid.
Shredded lamb with courgette which was so full of flavour -my fave!
Beef steak strips cooked medium rare with chilli and herb salsa.
Meatballs with a spicy sauce.
Seafood & chorizo paella -just the right consistency and plenty of squid, mussels, prawns and chorizo.
Croquettes con queso -cheesy, spicy, gooey with crisp crumb shell.
It was a clean sweep on all the dishes and because it was rich, we were perfectly satisfied. I can’t believe we spent only £23 on the food including bread and were served up such a treat. Not dissimilar to a typical Spanish eatery off the beaten track!In fact the food reminds me of a car wash we used to frequent on our trips to the campo in a village called Canals in Valencia -no tourists, no English menus. Just leave your car outside and go through the shop into the family restaurant at the back serving a four course menu with a glass of vino tinto or blanco -for just 8 euros!
Ambiente Tapas won’t always have such an amazing deal of course, but what using the #EatLeeds offer did for me, was find somewhere wonderfully authentic. A place where I’ll be willing to pay the going rate when I return because I’ve sampled its menu and know it’s worth it.