After a year of not being able to travel, who wouldn’t want to be transported to the streets of Buenos Aires? At brand new restaurant Sonrisa – which means ‘smile’ in Spanish – situated in the heart of Leicester city centre, you can experience just that. We were lucky enough to be invited along to review their menu filled with Argentine delectables, and it didn’t disappoint…
The weather was absolutely glorious the day we visited and the Sonrisa experience begins as soon as the restaurant is in sight. Standing proudly at the crossroads of Cathedral Quarter and The Lanes, the beautiful Grade II listed building has been transformed with a bright, airy feel that’s still sympathetic to its heritage. As you step into the venue, it’s a feast for the senses – from the lushness of the exotic greenery that’s dotted throughout, to the impressive light features, colourful furnishings, gorgeous bar area and delicious smells wafting from the open kitchen.
Our booking was for a lunchtime sitting, and we were pleased to see that a fair few tables were already occupied with a lovely mix of people, further adding to the atmosphere. As we sat down at our table, first priority was choosing something to quench our thirst from the drinks menu. Sadly, we weren’t able to indulge in the amazing looking cocktails as we had an afternoon of work ahead, but we did delve in to the mocktail menu and chose the Evita and Bonita non-alcoholic cocktails, alongside a pineapple juice and San Pelegrino Lemon. The mocktails were beautifully served and very Instagram-worthy!
On to the main event… The food! Sonrisa has a tapas-style menu with a variety of small plates to choose from. We were advised that three to four plates per person was ideal for lunchtime, so decided on three each to sample. It’s worth noting that everything comes out as it’s ready, so depending on what’s been ordered, things will arrive at your table at different times – great if you’re all sharing, not so great if you’re starving and you’re watching your dining companion sample their dishes as you’re patiently waiting for yours!
Between us, we chose the following dishes…
Cured Beef Croquette – these little spheres of deliciousness were a great starting point. Featuring cured beef in a silky smooth sauce, covered in breadcrumbs to give the perfect contrast in texture and flavour. Served with a roasted garlic aioli, we could easily have eaten another plate!
Chistorra Sausage – a delicious garlic and paprika sausage, curled like a traditional Cumberland and served on a bed of multicoloured heritage tomatoes and a tomato chimichurri, that delivered a definitive kick to the palette that’s cooled down by the fresh tomatoes. Not dissimilar to a really good Spanish chorizo and very, very moreish.
Pan Con Tomate – simple but effective – tomato, garlic and olive oil served on toasted galician bread.
Calamari – the perfect combination of crispy and tender (something surprisingly difficult to get right with Calamari!) Served with a roasted garlic & lemon aioli that wasn’t too overpowering, and a fresh wedge of lemon.
Cod Loin – a perfectly crumbly salty cold loin bronzed from roasting that transports you to those warm evenings tucking into seafood on your summer holiday. It’s served up with a light and tasty garlic aioli for you to soak up and tangy, sweet pink pickled shallots.
Garbanzos – comfort in a bowl, this warming spinach and chickpea stew is brought to life with the addition of crushed Valencia almonds. Although we’d have loved a side of chipas – an Argentinian cheese bread – to mop up the delicious juices – yes we’re that greedy!
Grilled Sweetheart Cabbage – for a bit of green, the generously sized cabbage was complimented by a delicious romesco sauce that without would have been a bit bland and underwhelming. Honestly, it could have done with a tad more seasoning as the chimichurri butter was undetectable on the palette.
Oxtail Tagliatelle – the slow cooked oxtail in this dish was perfectly tender and the sauce flavoursome.
Potato Fry – the jenga like stack of fried chunky chips was not really what we were expecting but dusted in parmesan with a parmesan and truffle sauce to dip in, they were delicious and great for dunking in the Garbanzos.
Garlic & Parsley Fries – really tasty but not something we’d order again, simply because we know how many more dishes there are to try! Go for the Potato Fry!
Of course, we had to leave room for dessert too… Between us, we ordered the Chocolate Fondant, Orange Polenta Cake and Muscovado Pudding. All delicious in their own right, but I’d say from the post-meal conversation that the Muscovado Pudding – billed as “sticky toffee Sonrisa-style” – and the Chocolate Fondant (deliciously rich and gooey), were the firm favourites! That’s not to say the Orange Polenta Cake wasn’t nice, it’s just perhaps more of an acquired taste.
All in all, we’d absolutely recommend a trip to Sonrisa – whether it’s for a lunchtime pitstop when out shopping, cocktails with friends, or dinner with family, you’re sure to leave with a smile.
sonrisa comida argentina, 4 St Martins, Leicester LE1 5DB
BOOK NOW AT sonrisa.uk
AD – The meal was gifted as a PR experience in return for an honest review