Fletch checks in at the South American inspired tapas bar Azucar for some top notch food and drink.

It’s hard to believe that Azucar will be celebrating seven years in business as 2015 comes to a close – it doesn’t seem like two minutes since they first launched their unique take on tapas and rum.

Now firmly established as part of the Brewery Wharf wallpaper, I was keen to return and find out if they still had the Midas touch that put them so firmly on the Leeds map.

I dropped in on a busy Saturday night with a friend, absolutely famished and more than keen for some top-notch food and drink. It was reassuring to see Azucar has maintained its warm, friendly, rustic charm that set it apart from the competition in the first place.

From the welcoming staff to the shabby chic interior and candle-lit tables, this is an establishment that lives and breathes the laidback vibe that you only get when Howard Marks has had creative input.

Rum and tequila galore

Azucar

Azucar

One thing I’ve always loved about this joint is their selection of booze – if Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse were alive, well and living in Leeds, then I’m almost certain they’d be propped up at this bar from dusk until dawn.

As well as a vast range of fine rums and tequilas, they also stock a cracking range of bottled beers and wines. We kicked things off with a bottle of Modelo as we perused the menu.

Although it has shrunk considerably, the latest menu is all the better for it and has retained all the best dishes and added some new gems into the mix too. We carefully selected seven dishes to share, which I might add is more than enough as each portion seems geared towards two people.

San Miguel battered
The King Prawns in paprika and San Miguel batter (6.50) came with a tasty lime mayo and really hit the mark. San Miguel is my least favourite beer (tastes like someone dropped two pence in your pint), but blended into this dish it worked a treat.

Another new dish which proved to be something of a highlight had to be the Pork Ribs slow roasted in honey and paprika, which fell of the bone and melted in the mouth.

The pork went really well with our chosen bottle of red; Rio Rosa Malbec (17.95), which came from the ever reliable Chile. With its smooth texture and fruity flavours, it went down faster than Madonna at the Brits– definitely one you’d pick up for guests at a dinner party or BBQ, It was a real winner.

As a bit of a foodie and self-confessed glutton, I eat a lot of food and try new places all the time, but it’s rare I eat something which offers a completely new taste experience. The Diced Lamb (5.95), which came in a sweet and spicy Caribbean sauce did that however; it was quite simply delicious.

A couple of Zombies
The Butterfly Chicken in Peri Peri (5.95) sauce is an old favourite I’ve had many times at Azucar and it didn’t disappoint, with a soft texture as though it had been slow-cooked.

The last part of the evening is something of a blur, which I put down to the fact we decided to round off the meal with some Zombie Rum Cocktails. A heady mixture of Bacardi Oakheart, Bacardi Eight Years, Gosling’s, Pusser’s Navy Rum, pineapple and passion fruit juice, this super strong drink was invented in 1930’s Hollywood (possibly by a Satanist) and is topped with a flamed Wray & Nephew.

Needless to say, it was amazing; just don’t drink it if you’re a one-pint wonder unless you want to be carried home. So, the final verdict? If you’re looking for somewhere that puts as much love and attention into its bar as its food, then Azucar is the place to be.