My most recent visit to El Pirata tapas bar and Spanish restaurant was not my first (and I hope is wasn’t my last). I love this Mayfair institution for its buzzing atmosphere and overload of Spanish art on the walls – and most importantly, of course for the food and drink.
I dropped anchor at El Pirata last week as one in a raiding party of invited media, keen to dig through the restaurant’s extensive yet still authentic menu in search of its tastiest treasures.
There were highlights with every bite but I enjoyed most the simple starters such as jamon Iberico (£19.95 for an ample spread of limited production, high quality melt-in-your-mouth Pata Negra ham), Padron peppers (£5.45) and pan con tomate (£2.65) – all paired with a glass of dry La Goya Manzanilla (£4.95 per glass, £16.50 per bottle).
Main dishes most worthy of adoration were the monkfish medallions (£6.85) paired with Prado Rey Verdejo white wine (£25.95 per glass), meaty and flavourful grilled Atlantic prawns (£10.25), and black rice with squid (£8.55). Both the prawns and the rice paired well with a dry and oaky Muga Rioja white (£30.95 per bottle).
A torrija (Spanish bread pudding, £5.50) with ice cream followed by a shot of deeply delicious Melody Crema Catalana liqueur ended the session on a sweet note.
El Pirata is located at 5-6 Down Street, W1J 7AQ. Find out more at elpirata.co.uk.