London - El Pirata Tapas Bar, Mayfair
A little piece of Spain in Mayfair - noisy, crowded bar with small tables cramped around a spiral staircase which led down to more cramped tables at the basement level.
El Pirata's traditional tapas were tasty:
- Padron peppers were spicy & addicitive;
- Prawns in olive oil, garlic & chillis, served bubbling hot, were surprisingly also more spicy than I'd expected;
- Chorizos, served sliced and smothered in a tomato puree was my fave - absolutely delicious;
- Patatas bravas - order if you need your carbo fix;
- Arroz con Negro, with tender morsels of squid, was a much better option and which I found absolutely addictive;
- White asparagus - avoid;
- Tortilla was a gigantic wedge, enough to functionas a door-stop in St Paul's. Nice texture.
- Baby eels, also served bubbling in hot olive oil & golden-crisp garlic chips, plus baby potatoes. I'd come back here for this little ggem.
Loved the tapas overall. Desserts were pretty pedantic (maybe should have ordered the arroz con leche):
- Crepes with ice-cream
- Creme brulee
El Pirata Of Mayfair
5 Down St, London, Greater London W1J 7, GB
i was back in London for a few days last month and i actually went here 3 times, as it was very close to my hotel and it seemed to fit a variety of occassions...really enjoyed all the dishes i had (chorizo, prawns, and white asparagus were prob my 3 favorities)...nice staff...
sidenote: i like it better than the branch that's on Westbourne Grove...
The tortilla was as described - a big wedge with the potato well integrated. The interior was somewhat moist, but not as good as the made to order version at the El Pirata de Tapas on Westbourne Grove which had the egg cooked perfectly (although that was a few years ago, when the good chef was there -- he's since moved to Tapas Revolution).
Grilled thick stalks green asparagus were juicy and flavoursome, and a hint of char from the grill.
Octopus/polpo a la gallega is a fairly traditional rendition, the octopus tender and bouncy, with a rather soft surface, and a fair amount of paprika; wouldn't mind a touch mores flavour from the octopus, but nothing serious.
Not bad on the whole, with typical Mayfair tariffs that are somewhat higher than places like Jose. Speaking of Jose, have found it a bit variable in the last few months, fluctuating from great to merely pretty good.