749 Newcastle Street Leederville, WA 6007
This is a great little concept for a restaurant in Perth, but even more so in Leederville. Pincho’s has that perfect balance of “stripped back, rough, urban feel” and “street chic style” that battles on in Leedy. Hip E Club v Niche. The Leederville Hotel v The Garden. Sienna’s v Duende. Kailis v Sweet Lips. There really is something for everyone in Leederville, and it’s been this way for decades and it works. This seems to be a concept mastered by owner Justin Bell, who’s other ventures Jus Burgers and Snags & Sons have done so well for him in the same little spot on Newcastle St. The restaurant is a very cosy one, with a few tables out front and a few out the back for a little more privacy. Sitting inside makes you feel like part of the kitchen and almost as though you are at someone’s home. Which for the style and the culture of the food it is perfect. The décor is very rough, rustic look. Exposed brick, wiring and piping mixed with the warm lighting and the aroma of the kitchen adds to the homely feel of Pinchos.
So what is Pinchos?
Pincho or Pintxo, pronounced “pin-cho”, means “to pierce” or “to spike” and are bite-sized snacks typically served on skewers, and as you may of guessed is of Spanish origin. If you are worried about how many spikes you need to fill you up, then let me stop you there. Pinchos also has a great selection of cured meats, tapas, salads, share plates, and a couple of larger served specials of the day. This is all complimented beautifully by a selection of Spanish wines, cavas and beers. Of course sangria is available, and to top it all off there is also a lovely array of sherries that would be the perfect cherry on the cake when paired with the desserts and cheese on offer.
The pinchos ($1-$5) is a mix of olive, anchovy, sausage and cheese dishes. The salads/breads ($4-$9) range from ciabatta and grilled tomato bread to more substantial salads that are interestingly topped with dukkah. (Which works so well.) The cured meats ($8-$9 or a taste of four for $16.) covers sausage, ham, salami and pate. The tapas ($8-$9.90) covers pork, lamb, meatballs and seafood. Also for our leaf eating friends a few vegetarian dishes. My great chef friend Paul once said “Vegetarians are the closest species to humans and we need to look after them.” He was bang on. Though they may confuse me with their ways, like endangered wildlife, we need to make sure they can survive too. The desserts and cheese ($3-$19), or as we like to say (because we are travelled wankers) postres y queso, is a mix of fruits like quince, pear & grapes and blue cheese, goats cheese and sheeps cheese (you really can milk anything with nipples).
Anyways it’s time to order.
The thing I find difficult with new menus is how much to order, as not having enough worries me sick. So when having to order tapas off a menu I have only just read, folding a fitted sheet seems easy. To order here you have a printed menu that you mark down what you want, hand it in to the staff and wait for the goodness to return. The staff here were amazing – friendly, responsive and helpful. Even taking the time to ask the chef about certain ingredients and whether palmitos were available. Being the cosy place it is I could have turned to my right and asked the chef myself (And no, no the palmitos weren’t available. Cue the wife about to cry). We went with the remolacha y garbanzos, chistorra, chicharrones, brochetta de gambas and one of the specials of the day. Now I have spoke before about the beauty of food being able to take you back in time and let you relive great memories that you have banked away. So for the wife and I, this was all about our times in South America, and no doubt this will do the same for those that have done Latin America or the west end of Europe.
Remolacha y garbanzos (beet & chickpeas – $9) – this salad reads as beetroot, chickpeas, yoghurt, apple, fennel, radish, honey & dukkah and was absolutely superb and is fine amount split between two as a side. The dukkah, like dogs balls, stands out in this dish. Not very Spanish, but unlike dogs balls, so very tasty (though to be fair to dogs balls, I have never tasted them). Purists may have a whinge about this addition to a Spanish menu but it really does work so well sprinkled on top.
Chistorra (50g – $9) – a basque pork sausage that has been grilled to give it that slightly crunchy exterior whilst still keeping tender on the inside. These sausages are prepared quite long (like the popular South African boerewors) but cut into smaller pieces to serve as a tapa. It was packed with a smokey paprika and garlic taste, and had that salty edge to it that you expect of cured meats. This comes served with a tasty small salad that is topped with delicious pickled whole chillis. It was all smiles from our table right now but shit was about to get real.
Chicharrones ($8) – CHICHARRONES!!!!! Now this was the highlight for me here, and in South America where I would eat this every chance I got. Why? Crispy fried pork belly, cumin & lemon. That’s why. While it is arguably the greatest animal that has ever graced the face of this planet, the pig does it’s self no favours in the looks department, but luckily we don’t taste with our eyes. Add heat to it and you get almost life changing results. In this case the crispy pork belly of chiccarones. At Pinchos it is beautifully twice cooked pork belly that wears a hat made of the finest crisp crackling, flavoured with cumin and drizzled with lemon juice. Perfection! This is a must have if you stop by Pinchos or Latin America.
Brochetta de Gambas ($9.90 marinated prawn skewers) – no place is perfect and this was the let down dish of the meal. Let’s face it though it had some stiff competition as the other dishes were stellar. Prawns were a slightly over cooked, only slightly, ands sat on some nice crisp bread topped with diced onion, capsicum, herbs and some other shit. I really have trouble remembering dishes when I don’t like them. My tip is “don’t fuck with bruschetta”
After only ordering the above mentioned dishes, the staff recommend that maybe we would need one more dish as it might not be enough food. Alarm bells rang in my head – NOT ENOUGH FOOD, NOT ENOUGH FOOD!! So with that possible nightmare dangling ever so close to my gluttony zone, I defeat the wretched post lunch hunger by getting one of the specials of the day. Today it was slow cooked beef cheeks on a cauliflower puree, and some fish dish that I didn’t quite catch. I was already thinking about beef cheeks. This was beef cheeks done right. The meat would fall apart at the sight of a fork moving towards it. Slow cooked in a wine based sauce it was rich in flavour and sat a top a beautiful cauliflower puree. The specials cost a bit more than the tapas but they are easily a bigger serve. Price I think was about $16 or $18.
At this point we were very content in the amount of food, the quality and the service we had received from this meal. Then entered a free dish. Maybe they picked up on the millions of photos we took of the food, kitchen, and restaurant and were buttering us up. (The food had already done that) Or maybe they had just cooked one to many of the dish, and as we were the best looking table and the closest to the kitchen (probably the latter), we scored it.
Croquetes (smoked ham & chicken) – The chicken was more filler here as the smoked ham stole the show. Little crunchy fried parcels that tasted just like the pea and ham soup my mother used to make. Delicious and even more so when free.
This really was an exceptional little treat for lunch, and no doubt would be for dinner too. Will cost you more as a lunch option than other places but you get your moneys worth. All up it cost just over $70 for two and that was with the wife having a gin & tonic and I an Alhambra beer. It is quite cosy so I probably would cap party numbers at 6, but no doubt they could accommodate bigger groups. So if you are in Leederville for lunch or dinner give Pinchos a thought. Would definitely eat here again in a heartbeat.
4 crispy pork crackling hats out of 5