Fiesta of flavours is good addition to culinary map

Mexican-Spanish themed Agenda Tapace
Mexican-Spanish themed Agenda Tapace
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Stef Hall tries out the new Mexican-Spanish themed Agenda Tapacea situated at Preston’s Market Hall.

I recently moaned to a friend about the lack of good Mexican restaurants in the area, so I was delighted to hear a Spanish and Mexican themed eaterie had opened in Preston.

Quesadillas with chorizo and chicken

Quesadillas with chorizo and chicken

The brightly decorated Agenda Tapacea, situated close to the city’s indoor market, seemed like the answer to my prayers.

We were a little disappointed to turn up on a Monday teatime to find it closed, as its Facebook page had stated it would be open.

But, undeterred we returned on a Tuesday lunchtime.

It was fairly quiet, but had a nice ambience with salsa themed music playing in the background, and we were seated straight away.

Salsa and crisps at Agenda Tapacea, Preston

Salsa and crisps at Agenda Tapacea, Preston

The wide windows, which overlook the historic covered market, mean guests can people-watch as they peruse the menu, or enjoy a sangria – which is exactly what I did.

We were immediately served with some Mexican crisps with a mild fresh salsa dip to snack on, as we browsed the dishes available.

We opted for the delicious sounding quesadillas with chorizo and chicken from the specials options.

They looked more like pasties or mini calzones, rather than the flat quesadillas people may be used to.

Steak burrito at Agenda Tapacea, Preston

Steak burrito at Agenda Tapacea, Preston

However, they were tasty and very filling, and there is another flavour available on the main menu.

Each dish served to us was colourful and nicely presented on attractive terracotta crockery.

There was bright orange Mexican rice, fresh green guacamole, salsa and tasty refried beans on the side.

I chose the chicken fajitas and was not disappointed.

The delicious chargrilled chicken was served on a sizzling skillet with red, green and yellow peppers and onions, while the soft tortillas came separately.

My son chose a calamari tapas dish, which came with a spiced mayonnaise and lemon wedge.

It was served as coated chunks, rather than the traditional rings seen in other tapas venues.

My partner had chilli con carne, which looked nice with fluffy white rice on the side and cheese drizzled all over it.

It tasted all right but did not have a lot of ‘carne’ – meat – in it at all, which was disappointing.

It appeared to be more of a kidney bean chilli.

The only dish that did not taste like one would anticipate was the steak burrito, which I had expected to have a tasty chargrilled flavour.

The meat was overly sweet and aromatic, making it quite sickly. Service seemed to take a while, considering the restaurant was not full, but in fairness but we had ordered rather a lot of different items from the menu. The portions were generous, and the dishes were not overpriced with the bill, including drinks, of £55.85.

It is a new restaurant, so certain things can be forgiven, but it was difficult to remember everything on the specials, when there was no board to look at.

Similarly, it would have been nice to have a desserts options or be offered a look at the cocktail menu - perhaps it was deemed too early n the day!

But overall this eaterie has made a promising start on the city’s culinary map, and is definitely worth a try.