February is the month me and The Bloke celebrate our 6th (unmarried) anniversary as well as Valentine’s day so we agreed to take each other to our favourite places for a meal. At the start of the month The Bloke chose Pizza Express and for the end of the month I chose El Capo on Tariff Street in the Northern Quarter.
The decor is quirky and tongue in cheek, industrial, yet cozy. I thought the fresh lilies on the tables where a lovely touch – although my Dad would have disagreed as he’s allergic to them! I wish they had an air hockey table rather than foosball but I s’pose the chance of little disks shooting across the room at head level is a bit risky. The list of cocktails on offer are extensive and very creative so I asked the bar girl what she recommended. After hearing I like rum she made a traditional daiquiri that was so strong and more on the tart rather than sweet side, it was incredibly more-ish. We arrived at around 4.30pm and stayed in the bar until around 7.30pm and then went to their canteena for some authentic Latino street food with a twist. Now because this was a treat and I wasn’t there for review purposes I didn’t take a picture of the almojabanas: Puerto rican cheese and chilli fritters I had for starters but as you can see from the big smile on my face they were delicious! For my main I chose enchiladas filled with Surinamese vegetables. After reading the menu several times I’m still not sure what the difference is between a fajita, enchiladas and burrito’s apart from the shape of the bread!? My main tasted great but I kinda wished I’d ordered a chimichanga (a fried burrito) instead. I ordered a side of refried beans which had a rich, earthy flavour and were far too filling for a side so I asked for a doggy bag. The Bloke was braver than I and ordered xocolate chilli: Kidney beans, roasted cassava, squash, finished with 70% Nicaraguan chocolate sauce with the biggest grains of rice I’d ever seen. “OMG! Wow! That is…wow!” were my words upon trying a spoon full. The flavour was so rich but perfectly balanced so no ingredient was overwhelming. I need to order this as a side next time. You know a place is great when you are already planning what to order on your next visit over desert. I chose coconut ice cream (a rather tame choice considering they had tequila sorbet and purple potato flavours) which tasted amazing with some of The Blokes chocolate chilli sauce. The service was impeccable with really friendly staff who knew just when to appear at our table. I have to mention the tiny frying pans our starters were served in which were so cute.
For vegetarians I would rate the canteena 3 half/5, for carnivores I’d rate it 5/5.
Overall, El Capo bar and canteena gets 5/5 from me!