It’s wonderful when you discover a fantastic restaurant, the kind of place where you just know you will be going back to. In this case, I’m talking about El Pirata in Mayfair.
It might be in one of the most expensive and exclusive areas of London, but El Pirata is very reasonably priced. In fact, it a value menu of the day, consisting of two tapas, bread and alioli, and a drink, for just £10.25. A bargain.
We didn’t opt for this, however. Instead we ordered for the extensive list of tapas dishes: crumbly morcilla, monk fish, meat balls, pork in a lovely sauce, and fried marinated fish. All were excellent. I actually ordered the monk fish by mistake, because I didn’t have my glasses and misread the menu, thinking it said deep fried pork. When I told the waiter this he immediately offered to change the dish. “It’s not a problem, sir.” In the end I decided to stick with the monk fish. We ended our meal by sharing a creme Catalan, which my wife said was the best she had tasted.
As was the service. I was impressed that when we arrived the waiter who greeted us asked for our names. And the friendly service continued throughout the meal.
Opened in 1994, El Pirata has got it right: good food, reasonable prices, friendly service, and a warm atmosphere. And the decor, all black and white with wooden beams on the ceiling, suggesting the inside of a pirate ship (with the addition of Picasso prints on the walls), works.
I’ll be returning soon.