We’ve already spoken a little about the mystery of The Pink Shed. It seemed to appear overnight, and has attracted a lot of attention with its rather obvious placement on the second floor of Trinity Leeds.
The exterior doesn’t give much — read anything — away, and when we were given the opportunity to go and check it out, we leapt at the chance, mostly out of curiosity. We somewhat awkwardly hovered around said shed, as a door opening wasn’t terribly obvious and to be honest, looked locked. There wasn’t any visible movement inside the shed, and we were half thinking we’d been set-up.
Just as this thought occurred to us the door opened and we were warmly welcomed inside the rustic-styled Pink Shed. We don’t quite know what we were expecting if we’re honest, but we’re fairly certain it was a million times better than we could have imagined.
The floors were carpeted — very different to the cold and pale tiles of the exterior — the walls were painted a matt dark gray, and the most incredible pink splashes of artwork subtly donned every corner. The chairs were plastic — we do think they could have popped a cushion or two on them as you are sat for a while — and were sat around a huge square table, with two places set on each side.
The chairs themselves had little nods to Yorkshire on them, with decals of flat-caps, rhubarb and carrots upon them, and there were window-style light boxes on the walls, with discreet drawings of birds just flying out of view into the corner.
What was most striking though was the absence of a roof. Instead, there was just a large sheet of see-through black material. This let in an incredibly amount of light thanks to the distinctive roof of Trinity, and can imagine that at night, the effect is even more impressive. We liked the fact that you could see out of the shed, and into Trinity Leeds; it made the whole oxymoronic tone that The Pink shed is clearly going for that bit more prevalent.
The only issue with that though, is the logic that if we could see out, others could see in. Trinity customers were strolling along the top floor by Everyman on one side and Crafthouse on the other could quite easily see in, so it felt a little like dining in a fishbowl.
In the same breath, it does add to the exclusivity of the venue, and what it is trying to do. The Pink Shed wants people to ask about it, it wants people to be intrigued by it, and it wants people to be interested by what they’ll find inside.
Once we were (sort-of) comfortably seated — being open-roofed, it did have a rather cold breeze passing through, so take a jacket if you’re prone to being a bit chilly — we were introduced to the restaurant that would be feeding us lunch. We were lucky enough to be given Cielo Blanco, and as such, were treated to a Mexican feast, with a little bit of an ongoing tequila masterclass.
We started with the Herradura Blanco tequila — one that we all know best thanks to the Americanised style of shooting — before our starters, yes plural, came downstairs. We were started with nachos and three kinds of dips, ranging from a freshly chopped chilled salsa to a hotter green chilli dip, all of which were as yummy as you’d expect.
Next, we were treated to some filled tacos. The choices were the veggie butternut squash, beans and rice; the second was full of delectable pulled pork — let’s just say we helped ourselves to more than one of these. Just when we thought that opening bites couldn’t really get much better, they brought out the toastados, topped with perfectly cooked rump steak, and butternut squash empanadas – pasty style bites that we could have easily just eaten a plate of.
After this marathon of starters, we refreshed our palates with Cielo Blanco’s Cleanser, a lovely, light watermelon, pear, lemon and agave drink, and then ruined them again with the second Herradura tipple of the day, the darker Reposado, which we sipped whilst nibbling on chilli and cucumber — a surprisingly great way of sampling the spirit.
Our main course came out on two large wooden platters, and truly encouraged the authentic way of eating Mexican — by sharing. The main components of the platters were spicy chicken on one, and a whole fish on the other. Sat around these were pots of, well, everything. From sticky rice and a spiced creamy chicken stew to yet more salsa, soured cream and guacamole, there was something for everyone. The traditional method of eating – with your fingers – was encouraged again, and we were given warm tortilla wraps to pop a bit of everything in. It was quite simply delectable, and rest assured we ate our fair share.
After this, the word dessert was bounced around, and quite honestly, we didn’t think we could possibly consume another bite. That was until the churros were brought in. The stick doughnuts were just the right amount of sweet and had the perfect amount of bite, and when dipped into the melted chocolate that accompanied them… lets just say we found room. Need we say more?
To top it all off, we were given another taste of tequila — what else — and this time it was the aged Herradura Anejo, which we found to be the nicest of the lot. The smooth woody flavours blended expertly with the cinnamon topped orange slice we were given, and was the perfect end to a perfect, and decadent, lunch.
We half had concerns that the food would be cold after travelling down to The Pink Shed from the restaurant, but these proved to be dumbfounded — everything was piping hot, and if anything, the unusual environment allowed the food to stand out. The room was a blank canvas, and the incredible food gave it colour and atmosphere.
The service was second to none — though like the menu, this is provided by the restaurant and is subject to change – and honestly, there would be no better way to spend time than in a pink shed in the middle of a shopping centre. It’s a bizarre notion, but one that most definitely works.
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