Distrikt, Leeds review: Tour de force tapas menu is a triumph
There’s never been a better time to be a tapas fan in Leeds than right now. In the past five years we’ve seen an influx of awesome new-players hit the scene, meaning there’s very little space for sub-par chains in 2016 – anyone remember La Tasca?
With everything from traditional style, to Basque and fusion done so well in the city already, I was keen to see what Distrikt could bring to an already well-serviced table.
Having wowed me recently with their rustic Sunday dinner, I had high hopes that their award-winning chef would whip up a culinary storm, and thankfully I was right.
Balancing Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, the menu is packed with flair and ambition, and of all the dishes we chose, not one fell short of excellent. Heck, even the homemade dips and pita were worthy of a mention.
The restaurant itself is dark and atmospheric, which lends itself well to the eclectic décor of leather sofas, mismatched tables and chairs and obscure paintings.
To kick things off, we enjoyed a pint of the Vedett pale ale, which was exceedingly good – like Mr. Kipling’s pies, but better. We were served by the same friendly chap as last time, and he happily walked us through the menu and offered his recommendations.
As mentioned earlier, the homemade dips and pita (£4) itself was lovely, and you could tell the dips had been made fresh from scratch.
I would also highly recommend the cider and honey glazed baby chorizo (£5), as either a starter or main – so juicy and perfectly marinated with the cider.
And so on to the mains, which began with the king prawns on bruschetta with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic and spinach (£8.50). The portion size was perfect for two, and as with all the ingredients throughout the meal, it was clear they were incredibly well-sourced and cooked perfectly.
Next up was the pork tenderloin on a bed of fennel an apple, with apple and ginger jus and crackling (£8) – very posh, but once again meticulously prepared and as tasty as it sounded. Like several dishes on the menu, this was the kind of plate that you’d expect to find in a country pub, but worked brilliantly as a tapas dish.
The spiced lamb kofta and chorizo served with cumin, cous cous and tzatziki (£5.50) was yet another triumph, successfully bringing together a warming blend of Middle Eastern flavours.
Our waiter had recommended the roast tomato and smoked mozzarella arancini with mixed herbs and basil pesto (£4.50), which I would never have chosen myself (simply because I didn’t know what the hell it was), however it turned out to be another winner that tasted as good as it looked.
Last, but by no means least was the one I’d been waiting for with my glass of Malbec – the slow-cooked rib of beef with Shetland mussels and wild garlic butter (£9).
This really was a highlight, and far more ambitious than the kind of dish you’d expect to see in a tapas restaurant.
After months of recommendations from friends about this tapas menu, I was still surprised as to how good this food actually was. Distrikt proved that their eats are up there with their cocktails and beats, and more than hold their own against the other big dogs in Leeds. Just like Arnie, I’ll be back.