El Pirata – A slice of Spain in the center of London

Tucked away in a side street just by Hyde Park is El Pirata, a Spanish tapas restaurant and bar. The exterior itself is beautiful with the summer months seeing blooms of flowers dripping from overhead balconies and the chic black paint exuding opulence and class.  El Pirata food review
However El Pirata is a restaurant which is so much more than just that. It is lively, even on the Monday night we headed down, yet not raucously so. It is homey, yet with the perfect amount of electricity in the air and it is personal enough without being intrusive.
Simple elegant touches like a single red rose on the table and a characterful array of pictures adorning the walls make an ideal dining atmosphere for a date, dinner with friends or somewhere to take the parents.
El Pirata food review
The restaurant itself emits a warm glow and it’s hard not to feel relaxed as the gentle music plays, the world trundles by outside and the mingling of hundreds of flavors scent the air. Staff are friendly, greeting you with a smile and leading you to your table efficiently.
Being a tapas restaurant it’s a great destination for a social affair and it’s difficult to choose from the vast array of dishes as the choice is so plentiful and so creatively crafted there is something to suit all taste palettes.
We ordered a bottle of the house Sauvignon Blanc, priced at just £24 this is more than reasonable and it’s light upon the palette with just the right amount of crispness to the tongue.
Dish wise, the menu offers over sixty dishes as well as two set menus as an introduction to tapas. We went for the normal menu, liking the impressive array of choice and saw it was split into tapas frias (cold dishes) and tapas calientes (hot dishes) which was then divided into meat, fish and vegetarian.
El Pirata food reviewAfter a while of deliberation we had whittled our selection down to eight to share, a good mix spanning over the menu.
The albóndigas (meatballs) were a firm favourite and the best I’ve ever had. The sauce was divine – rich and warming to the tastebuds and the meat soft, tender and juicy. The arroz con pollo (spanish rice with chicken) was also beautifully cooked and full of flavor. Other favorites were the patatas bravas (deep fried potatoes in a chilli and garlic sauce) and piquillo peppers, both bursting with flavour and just the right texture.El Pirata food review
Each and every dish was cooked beautifully and brought out by the waiters in intervals so we could try those which went best together.
The Spanish dining culture flows steadily throughout the restaurant; that relaxed vibe that a meal is something to be cherished and enjoyed, a social occasion and not something to be rushed. And it makes the food taste all the better for it.
We rounded off the meal with a couple of their cocktails, they didn’t taste too strong alcohol wise, but were delicious nonetheless and pricing was reasonable – between £5.65-£7.10.
El Pirata is a real hidden gem right in the throes of the city but without feeling so. It is a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle of London, whisking you off for a Spanish evening of fine wine and fine food at a more than reasonable price.
We’re already planning our return visit.
5-6 Down St


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