• Tried & tasted: El Pirata

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    Nestled down a quiet street between Piccadilly and Park Lane is the authentic Spanish restaurant, El Pirata. Jade Burke sits down and tastes its variety of traditional tapas dishes

    Tucked away down a side street in Mayfair sits El Pirata, a Spanish restaurant that has long been serving customers for almost a quarter of a century. Despite its exclusive postcode, inside the informal atmosphere instantly makes me feel at ease as I watch diners delight in the variety of their tapas dishes.

    A bar plays host to a varied selection of Spanish wines, including Sangria, while the two floors invite guests to sit down, relax and unwind. A curved staircase takes us to the ground floor where tables for two, four and even 12 have been prepared – this restaurant can cater for all sorts of party sizes.

    Peering through the menu, we are spoilt for choice. 54 dishes in total are available to order, including small salads, tapas, light bites and paella. After much deliberation, my guest and I choose a starter of king prawns and deep fried squid, while for our main course we opt for some Spanish rice, pan fried chicken, chicken and chorizo skewers, roasted potatoes and deep-fried potatoes. We are assured that the skewers are a particular favourite by our waiter.

    Looking around the restaurant, it feels as if we have been transported to Spain, thanks to the traditional background music, dark wooden features and stone floor. We could almost be down a cobbled street in the centre of Barcelona on a summer’s evening.

    “Inside a bar plays host to a varied selection of Spanish wines, including Sangria, while the two floors invite guests to sit down, relax and unwind.”

    Our first course goes down a treat – the prawns are delicious. My expectations for the second course are really high, and of course it doesn’t disappoint. The roasted potatoes are delicately flavoured with a hint of garlic and is one of my favourite dishes, while my guest devours the pan-fried chicken. I was a little worried that the small plates would not be filling, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. By the end of the course I couldn’t eat another morsel. Between each course we are also given clean plates and cutlery, the staff at El Pirata really ensure your every need is met.

    As other diners delve into their meals, I notice two cubbyhole rooms towards the back of the main seating area. Tables have been placed here for parties looking for a space that is a little more private from the hustle and bustle of the main restaurant. It’s perfect for groups of around six who may be looking to discuss confidential business matters with colleagues.

    Our waiter then suggests we try a sweet course, as who doesn’t like chocolate? After a little persuasion we agree to share the homemade chocolate cake. It is presented to us with vanilla ice cream and strawberries on a slate plate, a fitting rustic touch. After polishing that off we were suitably full.

    So, if you are seeking some traditional Spanish food and a relaxed setting ideal for a lunch or afterwork dinner, look no further than London’s El Pirata for your next pit stop. I’m booking a flight to Spain as I write this.

    “Inside a bar plays host to a varied selection of Spanish wines, including Sangria, while the two floors invite guests to sit down, relax and unwind.”

    Good for…
    Sharing with colleagues
    Intimate dinners
    Sangria lovers
    Contact: 020 7491 3810

  • AUTHOR

    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke