Review – The Preston cocktail bar that also offers a tasty tapas option

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Isn’t it nice when life throws us little bonuses – the little chocolate that comes with your coffee, the free perfume sample when you buy make-up or the discovery that one of your favourite cocktail bars also serves really very tasty food.

Veinte opened in Preston’s Guildhall Street not long before Christmas, and has rapidly become the bar of choice for the city’s cocktail drinkers, with an excellent drinks list of old favourites and interesting new inventions. Not to mention a very friendly and helpful barman who will happily make up an off-menu option if you ask.

However, last weekend I tried its food option for the first time – and was impressed.

It doesn’t do main dishes, as the aesthetic is very much that of a bar, but it does do excellent Pintxos. These are similar to tapas and are mainly eaten in the Basque region, they are small and usually served on either a skewer or a piece of bread to make for easy eating without the need for much cutlery.

At Veinte each dish is around £3, and four or five per person is about the right amount for a full dinner.

We ordered a selection of cold dishes that included a deliciously salty anchovy and olive combination on a skewer and a beautiful roll of smoked salmon filled with an avocado mousse, topped with a slice of fresh avocado.

We then moved on to the hot dishes, ordering four, then deciding that we were still hungry and ordering another four later.

The dishes all arrive quickly, so there was no waiting for things.

Our hot dishes included chicken with onion marmalade, asparagus wrapped in beef, a mini hamburger in gravy and – my personal favourite – a slice of black pudding topped with warm goat’s cheese and a little chilli jam.

Each dish was delicious and, with so many different options there was always a new flavour to try.

I tried a couple of cocktails to start with (my partner was relieved to discover that there is also beer on tap) then we moved on to wine with the food.

From a varied wine list we chose a very nice merlot, served in extremely generous measures.

The staff were very friendly and chatty and the interior of the bar is stylish and lively.

I could only come up with two criticisms – the downstairs of the bar has comfy sofas, but upstairs there are high tables and not-quite-high-enough stools, so that you feel rather like a child sitting up at a table slightly too high for you. The lighting in the ladies is also not quite good enough to retouch lipstick perfectly.

But those are genuinely the only faults I could pick with the this stylish yet informal venue and we will definitely be back.

The bill came to £64.40 for 10 tapas dishes, two cocktails, three pints of Estrella Damm beer and four large glasses of wine. There are also various deals available, such as two cocktails for £10 or six Pintxos and a bottle of house red or white wine for £20.

Pintxos are served from 5pm to 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday and from 2pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Atmosphere 5/5

Food 4/5

Value 5/5

Address Veinte, Guildhall Street, Preston. 01772 558283

Website www.facebook.com/Veinte20Preston