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Review: The Pit

· Ali Turner · Food and Drink

Deep South BBQ meets Mexican eats at The Pit, as our reviewer found out.

The Pit Leeds City Centre

They’ve just relaunched their menu, adding a South American twist to their solid BBQ offering, so we sent our reviewer to check out The Pit.

Two weeks before Christmas, on an otherwise dismal Tuesday, we decided to take ourselves off to the other side of town to check out the new menu at The Pit. It brings together the Deep South BBQ’s goodness they’re famed for, with a new Mexican offering that will take you from fajitas to enchiladas – that’s a whole lot of choice right there.

The Pit Leeds City Centre

It was half full when we arrived, clearly this is a popular choice with local workers looking for a lunchtime pick-me-up – and it’s hardly surprising. The decor is cool and modern, think neon lights, cosy leather booths and big sharing tables, for those of you in a group. Luckily for us, those tables meant we had plenty of space to spread out with what turned out to be an almighty feast.

The menu is split into two sections, small plates that you can mix and match to create a tasty meal and bigger dishes that you can have all to yourself or share. We decided to join forces to get a real taste of what they do, with three smalls plates, a sizzling fajita board and a side of mac and cheese (just because).

With dinner ordered, we made ourselves comfortable. It’s a nice place to sit and waste an hour, with a laid back atmosphere and a chilled out soundtrack that makes catching up with friends easy. In fact, we were so busy chatting that the food arriving almost caught us off guard – it’s a pretty quick turnaround here, perfect for lunch break adventures.

The Pit Leeds City Centre

So, the food. We started with the nachos, opting out of the pulled pork you can get on top, and as nachos go, they were pretty good. It comes with cheese, guacamole (alas, laden with coriander), sour cream and what has to be one of the best salsas I’ve ever had – really fresh tomatoes, seasoned with a nice kick, a real treat. It is, perhaps, a little impractical. The small, deep bowl means you’ve got a bunch of untouched nachos on the bottom, with three or four absolutely loaded ones on the top, but if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, it’s easily redistributed.

Next up came the BBQ ribs. A Pit classic, they did not disappoint, in fact, I think we’d both say that they were the highlight of the meal. The meat fell off the bone, and the sauce was sweet, smokey and absolutely delicious. However, the next dish split opinions.

The Pit do patatas bravas differently, with sweet potato instead of the normal ones, and we were both excited to try it. For me, it was a fail. I love sweet potato, but there was something about the soft texture that made this fall short, patatas bravas should be crisp and crunchy, so even though it was smothered in that lovely salsa, it didn’t tick my boxes. My partner in crime felt differently though, a self-confessed sweet potato addict, he was rather partial to it.

The Pit Leeds City Centre

Together, these small plates would easily make up a meal for one, but we threw in the spiced Creole chicken fajitas to make it enough to share. They arrived at the table still sizzling in their skillet, with a plate of fresh ingredients to wrap them up with. You get 4 warm tortillas, alongside lettuce, cheese, smashed avocado (more coriander), salsa and sour cream for a DIY feast that’s actually quite fun.

You’re probably wondering why I keep mentioning coriander. I hate it, I probably should have mentioned that to our waitress, but I didn’t expect the fajitas to come smothered in it – alas, they did, and we had the fun job of trying to scrape it off. That’s my word of warning to all you coriander haters – for the love of God, ask for it without.

With the coriander blissfully removed, the business of eating recommenced, and I have to say, we were quite impressed by the fajitas. They probably aren’t quite what you’re used to, the Creole spices give it a different flavour, but it’s a good kind of different. And it’s a really generous portion – you get loads of peppers, onions and big chunks of chicken (mini-fillet sized in fact, which isn’t particularly practical when you’re wrapping it up in a tortilla).

The Pit Leeds City Centre

Speaking of the tortillas, we had to order more, there was way too much chicken to fit into the four provided, and it cost us an extra £2 to get 8 more, when what we probably needed was another two.

Our final dish was a side of macaroni cheese, which as far as I’m concerned, is an essential whenever it’s on the menu. It didn’t look particularly appealing when it arrived, but once you broke into the grilled top, we were treated to a fabulously gooey mess with strings of cheese that stretched off it when you grabbed a forkful. I’m not sure it had that ‘made with love’, home-cooked feel that’s so essential to macaroni cheese, but it was incredibly moreish.

By the time we finished, we were full to bursting – the dishes were a lot more filling than we’d expected, and our eyes were certainly bigger than our bellies. It all came to £37, with two diet cokes, which really isn’t bad for the big, tasty feast that we had.

The Pit, 9 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.