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£1m Argentinian bar and restaurant opens in Leicester

£1m Argentinian bar and restaurant bring soul of Buenos Aires into heart of Leicester

A new Argentinian bar and restaurant has opened close to the site where King Richard III’s bones were discovered in the heart of Leicester.

Sonrisa has opened in a Grade II-listed building new Leicester Cathedral following a £1 million investment.

The new venue, which has created more than 35 jobs, has been set up by Birmingham restauranteur Jabbar Khan, whose original restaurant, Lasan Indian Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, was crowned the UK’s best local restaurant by Gordon Ramsay’s F Word show.

His portfolio now included Fiesta del Asado, in Edgbaston and Solihull, Indian cafe Raja Monkey, in Hall Green, Birmingham, and a new Portuguese-Indian venture, Estado da India, in Harborne High Street. Sonrisa is his first in Leicester.

Mr Khan said: “We are thrilled to launch Sonrisa into Leicester. In Buenos Aires, ‘Buena Onda’ refers to good food, good times and good company.

“It’s a catch-all phrase for anything that puts a Sonrisa (smile) on your face, and we can’t think of anything that makes people smile more than ‘buenos aires’ (good air), delicious food and fine wine.

“We know from experience that Leicester is a city of many cultures and cuisines, and we hope to build on that premier league reputation for sensational food and give you plenty of reasons to smile from the inside out.

“There’s something special about Latin dishes and delights that tempt, tease and leave you hungry for more.

“Arrive early for a light, lingering lunch, a delicious coffee perk-up, or stay late into the night, grazing on the colourful sights, musical sounds, small plate delectables or large sharing plates. This is Comida Argentina done right.

“There’s no other city like Buenos Aires.

“Between its ability to breathe life and fire into its culture and its chic neighbourhoods like Palermo Soho and San Telmo, Buenos Aires has a way of winning over people’s hearts.

“So, we created Sonrisa, a modern café-bar haunt that makes the perfect spot for social gatherings — Buenos Aires-style. Kick back with a cocktail, meet friends old and new, or order a strong cup of coffee. We promise you won’t ever want to leave.”

Sonrisa has opened in Leicester

The restaurant interior was designed by Mel Spencer of Spencer Swinden Design inside a former Leicester Savings Bank branch, which dates back to 1873.

Simon Jenner, director of BID Leicester said it was good to see a new venue open after months of lockdown.

He said: “Leicester has fought hard to create a reputation, among foodie circles, as being one of the hottest cities on the culinary map.

“That our unique city has attracted the attention of one of the industry’s most talented restauranteurs to launch this brand-new concept is thrilling and testament to the growing confidence of the city”.

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