A few weeks ago, we went to Cielo Blanco, a mexican street-food style restaurant for a bite to eat with friends.
I’ve walked past Cielo Blanco in Trinity Shopping Centre, Leeds a few times, looked at the menu and decided it’s not for me, but when our friends said they enjoyed it, we thought we’d check it out. I love Mexican food, but the menu never appealed all that much. Food is served until 11pm so it’s great if you fancy a late meal after some after-work drinks.
There’s a great list of cocktails and a few beers to try so it’s worth checking out just for drinks too. The outside area was great with a view of the street below. I ordered a cocktail, of course! I couldn’t tell you what it is is called as forgot to note it down and can’t see it on the menu, but I know it will be fruity with rum!
Food-wise, we decided to all get the ‘street food experience’, which is £12.50 per person (minimum of 2), for 6 dishes. I find it odd when things are worded this way, but basically it’s £25 for 6 dishes. We got 12 dishes between 4 of us, which sounds and looked like loads, but tapas or sharer style dishes are always pretty small.
Due mostly to our preferences (no cheese, no sour cream, etc.), Ryan and I were quite restricted by choice, but we love a lot of mexican food and managed to find 6 dishes to look forward to.
I won’t delve into each and every dish as there were 12, but I will say that the quesadillas are the best thing I tried while there. However, altogether we found the meal pretty uninspired and very average. It was fine for picking at while chatting and hanging out, and I think the large tables are great for group meals, but I don’t think I’d go again if I could help it. I am sure from the pictures you can tell that the individual dishes were not well-filled or garnished. The flavours were quite flat, except for one super hot dish that I managed to burn my mouth with!
I understand that when serving that many dishes at once, there’s room for some lenience, but I personally think it’s a shame that often tapas style food is less exciting than full meals. If a restaraunt chooses to serve this way, then they should really be prepared for it. I have cooked tapas meals a few times, ones involving 10 dishes, and all cooked fresh to serve, so if a non-chef, novice cook can do it, I am sure there are restaurants out there that can too. I just haven’t found them yet. Suggestions?
It was quite late on a Friday so not too busy, which was quite nice, but also means I can’t tell you too much about the atmosphere. My guess is normal diners would be gone by the time we were there, but it’s usually really busy when I go past. I did like the decor and the outside feel. Having a tree on each table was certainly unique!
The service was great; friendly waitress and quick table service.
Overall, I was unhappy with the meal, did not feel that £50 was worth it for the slim pickings and drinks we had, but I guess £25 each is not a massive loss and it was good to try something new. Ryan and I are quite regular restaurant visitors and have noticed that we’re often a bit fussier than others. Our friends have been there a few times and really like it, so it seems it might be one you have to try yourself.
Have you been to Cielo Blanco? Do you agree that taste or quality can be neglected when it comes to tapas or sharer style meals?
IMPORTANT: I am sure this is no fault of the restaurant, but if you have any allergies, please be careful when eating meals in this way. Unfortunately, while we were very careful about everything we chose and usually have no problems, my boyfriend had a bad allergic reaction whilst eating and it continued throughout the night meaning we had to go straight home after our meal and he was ill for a while. The allergy is to milk, but it is not so bad that he can’t have any at all, so we’re sure there was a fair bit of milk or cheese used in the ingredients for the dishes we chose, despite actively being cautious. This is not to slate the restaurant, but to make anyone that may visit here or similar places aware.