Chapel Allerton’s Spanish Oasis
When the critics at Esteem HQ learnt we’d be reviewing tapas restaurant, El Bareto, they were all fighting for the job. Since I was the only one who’d never been, I hit the jackpot and booked a table for three friends and I, curious as to what all the fuss was about.
On a typically rainy Wednesday evening, we arrived at the restaurant’s botanical porch area. Since visiting, I have imagined myself sitting there with a glass of verdejo in summer, while the sun assists the restaurant’s exterior in making me believe I’m in Spain as much as the interior does-
and ay dios mio- it really does.
The entrance may as well be a portal, because once you step inside, you’re no longer in Leeds. A snug, atmospheric bar leads to a candle-lit, subterranean dining area. From its rustic décor to its intimate ambience, this place is Spanish through and through. My favourite place in Spain is Cádiz; an inviting, ancient port city on the southwest coast that boasts authenticity and lacks tourists: perfection. El Bareto instantly reminded me of Cádiz, its hospitality and traditional character. As it turns out- the owners, Pablo and his wife, Maya, who sings on the restaurant’s music nights, are originally from Cádiz- and it shows. El Bareto oozes unspoiled Spanish
I ordered a white rioja, which was excellent. Exactly my type of wine; crisp and clean with floral overtones. I struggle (relentlessly) to find wine like this. When the menu arrived, I
learnt of the custom; you do not order- you tick the box next to your desired dishes. Naturally, we began with marinated olives (£2.50), manchego (£7.50) and ibéricos (£8.90). The jamón and salchichón were so succulent that I’m salivating just writing about them.
Tapas without patatas bravas would be a crime, so we tucked into a plate of El Bareto’s spicy version of the dish (£3.95), alongside their alioli potatoes (£3.95). Both were delicious and reasonably priced for the portion sizes- the latter being a must
for any garlic lover. Next was their potato and chorizo omelette (£4.50) which could have done with a tad more seasoning, but
the fresh and juicy garlic king prawns that followed (£7.90) rectified this tenfold, so much so that we asked for a second helping.
With those, came Padrón peppers (£5.95). These are great fun because one in ten is fiery hot, while the others are as mild as a bell pepper; a tasty game of Spanish roulette. The jalapeño croquettes (£5.95) and haddock & prawn croquettes (£5.95) were both fried to perfection and equally as flavourful. We washed all of this down with a good few jugs of sangria (£10 per jug), which judging by the speed at which we drank, we all thoroughly enjoyed. To finish, our attentive but not overbearing waiter presented us with Bailey’s and white
chocolate cheesecake (£4.50) which didn’t last long.
There is a Spanish proverb; barriga llena, corazón contento- full belly, happy heart. This certainly applies to my experience at El Bareto.
120 Gledhow Valley Rd,
Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS17 6LX
Tel: 0113 266 6946