El Pirata – Authentic Tapas Made With Love in the Heart of Mayfair
October 12, 2018
El Pirata has a unique vibe for its Mayfair location. While you’d be hard pushed to find a cocktail for under £20 in any of the surrounding restaurants, El Pirata is affordable, buzzy and busy every night of the week.
It’s not hard to see why. The staff are lively and oh so likeable. They’re also absolute experts when it comes to their delicious tapas menu, so if you’ve really no idea what to for, either indulge in one of their de-lish set menus or just leave it to them to make some suggestions.
The El Pirata restaurant covers two floors with an alfresco terrace for the warmer weather. The interior is laid back and rustic with dark woodwork, black and white Spanish prints on the walls and a black wrought iron spiral stair case in the middle of the restaurant. It has a classic style, unpretentious and casual – this is a restaurant that doesn’t need an OTT facade, because the food quite literally speaks for itself.
While the crowd are well heeled, you can also tell that they’re regulars. El Pirata is exactly that kind of a restaurant where’d you’d feel just as at home visiting on your own as you would with family, a group of friends, or for a date.
In true tapas style, no matter what your order, the dishes all come out as and when they’re ready. We indulged in yummy, tangy Con Pan Tomato Aje – a typical Spanish dish of warm fresh bread topped with garlic and tomato. A meaty side came in the form of luscious strips of acorn fed 100% Jamón Ibérico – described on the menu as ‘Spain’s National Treasure’ and rightly so.
Padron Peppers followed – perfectly grilled on the outside, with that lovely addictive salty sheen, while the Deep Fried Medallions of Monkfish with tartar dip was a wonderfully light dish and great as an accompanying starter.
Next came the Iberian Ham Croquettes – faultless in flavour and wonderfully soft, inside a lightly crunchy shell of fried breadcrumb. The two stand out dishes though, were the rice dishes. Calamares Con Arroz Negro, otherwise known as black rice with squid was unbelievable! If you visit El Pirata, you absolutely must try this dish. Coloured by the squid, the appearance of the rice when we’re so used to eating white or brown rice, gives this dish a particularly strange look, but wow the flavours – there were all kinds of umami to the rich, smooth flavour which made it incredibly more-ish. We shovelled this into our mouths as if we hadn’t eaten in months!
And the main event – an ever so strong contender, was the signature El Pirata Paella which is just excellent. Lucky for you, on Monday’s throughout October, you can take advantage of Bottomless Paella for just £15pp at lunchtime and £18pp for dinner, which also include mixed olives, Pan Con-Ali-Oli and two glasses of Sangria! There’s also a vegetarian option available.
We washed down this mouthwatering feast with a medium priced bottle of Cerro Anon Reserva which we absolutely loved. With cherry, berry and vanilla on the nose, sweeter notes on the palate of sweet fruit and coconut and a smooth, long finish, this was a great choice at £38.
El Pirata is most definitely my new Mayfair go-to and once you’ve been you’ll see why. You can just feel that the food is cooked with love and it helps when it’s obvious that the staff all love working with one another. For fabulous food, an addictive ambience and prices which are so reasonable, they’ll shock you, El Pirata is like discovering that chest of buried treasure. Just don’t tell everyone…!
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whitfield