EL PIRATA – A TASTE OF SPAIN
On the small side road called Down Street in the heart of Mayfair and across from Green Park resides a restaurant of Spanish cuisine called El Pirata (The Pirate). A pirate steals and hides treasures and this venue is the biggest steal Mayfair has kept secret but to only a regular hoard of locals aware of its location and a few celebs!
I had been invited down to see for myself what it was all about and why locals are flocking to this Spanish Tapas Restaurant.
Upon finding the restaurant which some wouldn’t even know was there, we entered and i was taken back instantly by the bar to the right and its mirrored effect. Looking around this almost circular ground floor with a spiral staircase to take you downstairs near the entrance, already at 7 pm (i was a little early) it was already bustling with diners. Conversation flowing at each table we had been welcomed and escorted to our table.
Again I looked across at the bar which with its mirrored effect is only half the size it appears to be but loved the staircase like mount the spirits were resting on.
So down to business and yes we were hungry. You can get main meals however we stuck to tapas and so chose seven dishes to share. Now with tapas, the beauty of it is that you don’t have to have all of one thing, you can have a little of everything.
We chose predominantly off the meat and veg categories and very nearly in number order like a lottery ticket..
31, 32, 36, 37, 38, 39, and a 21 just to mix it up… so in description order that was:
31. chorizo al vino spanish sausage in a red wine sauce
32. vuelta de carne pan-fried medallions of steak in garlic, red peppers,
white wine & a touch of parsley
36. pinchos morunos con chorizo marinated chicken skewers with chorizo
37. tortilla spanish omelette with potatoes & onion
38. patatas bravas deep-fried potatoes in chilli & garlic sauce
39. champiñones al ajillo mushrooms in garlic
21. gambas al pil-pil prawns in olive oil, garlic & dried hot chilli peppers
After ordering our food was quickly brought to us with a couple of dishes waiting behind. We had been informed that the chicken was being cooked and to ensure quality may take a little longer which was absolutely fine as we had bread, and the five other dishes to tuck into for the time being.
I love mushrooms and so the garlic mushrooms were my first port of call, and to my delight, they tasted as good as they smelt. A side pot of garlic accompanies these so I could dip (or scoop) as my wife tells me I do to my heart’s content. The patatas bravas was also a stand out dish for me and certainly came with an after kick – with it containing a mixture of chilli and garlic. My wife especially loved the Spanish Omelette and regained her wish to learn to make it as previously recommended by a friend.
After a little wait our chicken and steak came out and again presented beautifully we then also tasted these treats. The chicken skewers cooked perfectly on the stick, with little bits of chorizo and other Spanish treats placed in between each chunk of chicken.
Topped off with dessert we had crema catalana crème brulèe w/ crunchy caramelised top and profiteroles caseros rellenos con dulce de leche homemade profiteroles stuffed with “dulce de leche”, with ice cream
A nice touch also was that the menu came with recommended aperitifs to enjoy the dessert with but we passed on this occasion being a school night for us. As expected the profiteroles were to die for especially being in chocolate sauce. My wife quite simply said ‘Delicious’.
Service was efficient and ensured that no empty plates stood on the table. We had been left to enjoy our food at a perfectly unrushed pace, the venue gave a wonderful feeling and an opportunity to enjoy your surroundings and food.
I saw the manager and colleagues welcome in other patrons and make conversation with smiles and laughter indicating to me that this was indeed a return visit and probably not for the first time either. The staff are passionate about the food, the energy is visible and the chefs can be seen in the back amongst steam working away to make sure they bring you the best taste of Spain here in Mayfair.
Now you may be surprised when I say this but although being in Mayfair the prices are very reasonable and this is a point they proudly promote. This restaurant is accessible and affordable for most and makes for a great night out whether it be a date night, birthday or other celebration.
Steal this restaurant back from the pirates and have some of the treasure for yourself. If you need reminding El Pirata is the place. Down Street is the location.
Fred Sirieix’s Favourite Romantic Restaurants: “Quite simply, one of my favourite restaurants….Consistently very good food, great value for money and top service. The team at El Pirata are so friendly and accommodating and nothing is too much for them.
Lively style and good-value tapas makes for a lot of fun at very reasonable prices for such an expensive area.