Fino Tapas is the latest venture from Mark O’Rourke and opened last month at St Wifrid Street in the city centre.Advertisement
The building has been used for a number of things in recent years, most notably Korova, but has yet to see someone make a real success of it. Fortunately it looks like we’re in a position where that may change.
The reason for that is Mark also happens to be the man behind We Don’t Give A Fork, of Guildhall Street. Essentially the place that showed you that the burgers on offer across the rest of Preston are a bit naff. And you don’t need to go to Manchester for a good one anymore. He also saw success with his creatively-named Preston Pop-Up that was done at Ham and Jam cafe – which showed there was more to what he could offer than good burgers.
Happily, Fino Tapas continues this trend while raising the bar for tapas in the same way he did for burgers. Less happily, I had to take Ed Walker with me to try out some of the menu last month.
The restaurant is busy when we arrive, which is impressive for Preston city centre on a Wednesday evening.
It’s hard to talk too much about serving staff that certainly knew we were coming but they were focused and friendly throughout the experience.
They were also patient, which is important because the menu here is huge. Ridiculously so – the exact opposite of We Don’t Give A Fork’s focused offering. It’s ambitious, especially for a place that’s just opened.
So either we ordered the 11 dishes on the menu that are good or there’s an impressive consistency to the food on offer despite the variety.
Let’s focus first on the fantastic. The fillet steak option at £8.88 (because like the burger-sister-eatery, all prices have to follow this value) is ludicrously valued and wonderfully cooked. It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to eating another four or five dishes alongside it, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value dish in a fifty-mile radius.
Equally impressive is the chorizo served in red wine. In my own experience, chorizo served in a tapas place is tasty but spoiled slightly by a tough or chewy texture, like eating a really expensive pepperami. No such problem here, where the food flies down before Mr Walker can takes his eyes off his ham and cheese croquettes.
More: We Don’t Give A Fork offers the best burger in Preston
Elsewhere, chilli mushrooms combined two of my favourite things and do it well. Patatas bravas are as simple and comforting as you would expert (though the garlic and rosemary potatoes are a little bit plain for me) and the calamari impresses. The latter dish can easily become like grappling with an elastic band in an office if you aren’t careful but fortunately Fino get it right.
That’s the theme across the food. Fino gets it right. We absolutely gorge ourselves, and sink a couple of pints each, and the bill comes to less than £80 with tips. The dishes that impress are among the best of their kind I’ve had while those that don’t aren’t what I would choose to order anyway.
Even dessert, which I habitually skip, impresses. A blood orange cheesecake finishes off the meal nicely. I’m full enough that I almost turn down a drink after the meal. Almost.
Fino Tapas is a great addition to Preston’s dining options. As with We Don’t Give A Fork, it goes right to the top in terms of the type of cuisine it offers.
Luke was invited to try the food at Fino Tapas. Ed tagged along. The meal was complimentary.