I love food, and I love cocktails – imagine my joy when I heard that Leonards at 39, a new tapas and cocktail bar, was opening in Ross on Wye!
After hearing a lot of good things, it wasn’t long before an after-work trip was arranged. With most plumping straight for the cocktails, my eyes were of course drawn to the tapas menu; with options starting at just £2, you could take your pick from a range of nibbles, meat, fish, potatoes or vegetable bites. I was spoilt for choice…
The ham hock croquetas and smoked haddock arancini had a subtle flavour – the perfect accompaniment to the punchy cocktails – whilst the extra salty patatas bravas really made the mouth water. The millionaire fries topped with parmesan and white truffle oil were a crowd and personal favourite, and the recommended honey glazed chicken and chorizo could only be described as delicious (and definitely on my list to taste again next time…). Other members of the party opted for the chilli king prawns, pulled pork quesadillas, sweet potato fries and smashed avacado which also went down well.
Although beautifully presented, I did have a slight issue with the accompanying dips being a little close to everything – but I think that’s probably my own strange problem with food touching…
If the food was good, the cocktails were great; from the fruity mai tai to the caramel infused lemon drizzle, it certainly took a while to decide which to try first. My Russian spring punch (vodka, creme de cassis, raspberries, lemon, sugar and prosecco) was a sweet treat, whilst the martinis proved the sophisticated choice – although the raspberry mojito, which had a lot to live up to after my love affair with them began in Barcelona, was my clear winner. Ranging between £6-8 they were certainly worth indulging on, and the fresh fruit garnish and sugar rims made them completely instagram worthy.
There’s also a small temperance selection for the designated driver!
The mood lighting and waistcoated staff brought a certain cosmopolitan vibe to the place, and you could easily be forgiven for temporarily forgetting you were in fact still in the little market town. The bar wouldn’t have seemed out of place on a swanky London avenue, and it has already succeeded in bringing an extra touch of class to its rural Herefordshire setting.
The owner Darren, who also owns popular restaurant No3, milled around chatting to people who were clearly already regulars and it’s clear he has an instant client base who are looking for that chilled out experience that Leonards at 39 offers. The fact that few seats were left even on a Wednesday evening was testament to the quality of both the food and drink, and we’ve already made our visits there a monthly occurrence.