Bar Pinxtos can be found on Market Place
Preston’s food scene has grown exponentially in recent years. The city has gone from takeaway heaven to hosting a range of high quality restaurants, independent street food eateries and stunning dessert places.
This growth in talent has naturally begun to attract food critics from far and wide, and recently, the city was visited by none other than Jay Rayner, who visited two Preston restaurants, one of which was Bar Pinxtos on Market Place.
Bar Pinxtos received a glowing review from the Observer food critic, describing his experience there as a “a very good end to a lovely day”. Here, the critic sampled a few plates of ‘very agreeable’ tapas as well as an ’eminently finishable’ Basque cheesecake.
Owner, Anthony Smith opened his authentic Spanish restaurant just over a year ago. The eatery is his first, despite having worked in the industry for 10 years. He says he was thrilled with the comments from Jay.
With an owner with such knowledge and passion, and amazing comments from a world-renowned food critic, LancsLive just had to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Now I’m no famous restaurant writer, but I do love good food, and value for money, as do the people of Preston, I’m sure.
Sirloin Steak & chimichurri sauce, Crayfish with salsa rosa & cucumber and Pulled pork with pineapple chutney
When I arrived on a windy Thursday evening, I was very happy to take shelter from the elements. My expectations for the food were already high, having spoken earlier in the week to Anthony about his love of authentic Spanish cuisine his passion for running Bar Pinxtos.
He said: “I’m not making profit and I’m not paying myself a wage so I’m certainly not doing this for the money. I’m doing it because this is what I love.”
I was very much hoping to love it too. We were greeted warmly and shown to our table, where we were left to peruse the menu, which was split into Pinxtos, Carnes, Verduras and Pescados. They also had a selection of meat and cheese boards as well as paella to share.
Our party decided we were going to have a little something from each section, therefore keeping our options open. It did take us about 20 minutes to actually choose what tapas dishes we wanted, as everything sounded delicious.
The first dishes to arrive were the Croquetas de Jamón and the Patatas bravas with saffron alioli & spicy tomato salsa. We had been told to expect the croquetas to have a very silky texture, but I don’t think any of us expected them to be as smooth as they were. The creamy filling was bursting with flavour, and all of us wished we’d ordered more of them. The Patatas bravas were equally as delicious, the potatoes were crispy, and the spicy salsa and saffron aioli perfectly complimented each other.
Second to emerge from the kitchen were our Pintxos. We’d picked one each to try, ordering the Sirloin Steak & chimichurri sauce, Crayfish with salsa rosa & cucumber and Pulled pork with pineapple chutney. These came out warm and were the about two bites worth of food, but stunning none the less. The meat melted in our mouths and the crayfish paired with the cucumber was light, making it the perfect starter.
The next dishes to follow were the Meatballs in a Moor inspired tomato sauce and Gambas al pil pil. The Moor inspired sauce was a rich, slightly spicy tomato sauce left us fighting over who got the last meatball.
The Gambas were cooked in a sauce made with garlic and chilli infused in hot olive oil. Prawns are not normally my favourite, but these were perfectly cooked, meaty, and with a slight heat which made them very enjoyable.
pan fried chorizo in Pedro Ximenez sherry.
Our last two tapas dishes to arrive were the roasted chicken wings in house BBQ sauce and and pan fried chorizo in Pedro Ximenez sherry. Every dish we’d had so far had exceeded even our incredibly high expectations, but the chorizo left us speechless. The three of us sat and simply looked each other as we took in the flavours of delightful sweetness from the sherry paired with the smokiness of the chorizo. Without a doubt this was the best dish of the tapas we’d ordered.
After devouring the chorizo, we had the chicken wings, which were also delicious. Coated in a tomato-y BBQ sauce, they were cooked beautifully, meaning the chicken fell off the bone. I had to feel sorry for the chicken wings, as had they come at the start of our meal, they would have been met with delight. But nothing could top that chorizo.
Now, it was time for dessert, and since there were three of us, and three desserts on the menu, it made sense to order one of each. Jay had called the Basque cheesecake ’eminently finishable’ so that was the top of our list to try. For those that don’t know, Basque cheesecake isn’t like a normal cheesecake. The dessert is baked at a high temperature. It is light and scorched and caramelized on the top with a rich, gooey interior.
We also ordered the Crème Catalan, which is very similar to crème brûlée, as well as some churros and dipping chocolate. Of the three, we all loved the cheesecake, and finished it very fast. The citrus custard of the crème Catalan went down a treat and we finished with a churro each.
I don’t think I have the words to do the food here justice. Everything was cooked beautifully and we were left feeling satisfied and full, but not fit to burst. Bar Pinxtos is a real jewel in Preston’s eatery crown.
- 15:17, 13 NOV 2022
- UPDATED08:49, 14 NOV 2022