“Datenight”… A word, that used to be quite familiar in my vocabulary – but not so much now! Being new parents, Frenchie and I don’t get to go out that often, so when we do, we carefully select, what we want to do in advance, to make the most of it!
A London datenight with a Spanish twist! Welcome to tapas restaurant El Pirata of Mayfair
El Pirata is located in London/ Mayfair close to Green Park and Hyde Park stations. My first impression was really good! You get warmly welcomed by the lovely staff and the atmosphere here is relaxed, cosy and romantic. (Just what we needed!)
It was a good thing, that we had booked in advance, because the place was completely full! Clearly this is a popular place, which comes as no surprise, as the food is delicious, inexpensive and traditional Spanish tapas! What’s not to like?
Bonus-info: If you haven’t booked in advance, El Pirata is rather big, so the waiters will usually find you a place at the bar and keep you happy until a table becomes available! (The ground floor dining room is supplemented by a basement area!)
Let me tell you… It was a hard task choosing, as El Pirata has a wide range of food and wine on offer
There are more than 60 dishes on the menu from restaurant specials like cochinillo a la traditional (roast suckling pig with potatoes) to tapas classics including boquerones (anchovies in vinegar), patatas bravas (deep-fried potatoes in a chilli and garlic sauce) and pescados y mariscos fritos de rape (deep fried medallions of monkfish)… So many choices! What to do?
This was quite funny! A creditcard sized wine-guide on every table!
Frenchie was as always kind to me and agreed on white wine, even though red would probably be more suitable for tapas! It is not easy being French with a girlfriend, who doesn’t drink red wine! Luckily he enjoyed this Orchidea as much as I did
Bonus-info: There are over 140 different wines on the wine list – all of them authentically Spanish! Quite impressive, if you ask me!
“Pan con tomate/ajo” : Toasted bread topped with fresh tomato, olive and garlic
What I really love about tapas is, that it is such a sociable and flexible way to eat! You get to sit for a long time with each other at the table enjoying several dishes – and best of all, you can enjoy a huge variety of flavours!
Perfectly pan-fried “Padron”: Small green peppers from galicia – Frenchies favourite “Entrantes”
Oh joy, oh joy! How I just loved this “Jamón ibérico 100%, 5J bellota” cinco-jotas, acorn-fed 100% Iberian ham. (Also knows as “Spain’s national treasure or pata negra” If you have not tried this ham before, it is about time!
– and the heavenly small bites just kept on coming…”Croquetas de jamón ibérico”: Iberian ham croquettes (a must, when I visit a tapas restaurant) These didn’t disappoint!
– and neither did these delicious “Croquetas de pollo”: Chicken croquettes! The batter was crisp and the meat not dried out
You can not visit a tapas restaurant without tasting a bit of fish!
Frenchie is a big fan of seafood – especially octopus! “Pulpo a la gallega”: Octopus, potatoes, brushed with olive oil and paprika. He loved every bite! (I am more of a carnivore, but according to Frenchie this octopus was tender, fresh and tasty! Exactly as we had been told by a regular guest of El Pirata
This dish has a bit of a funny story…
Even though I was ordering the food for us, I had forgotten about the “Gulas con patatas asadas”: Baby eels in olive oil, garlic, dried hot chilli peppers and roasted potatoes! I am just going to say it like it is – I am always a bit cautious about trying something new and a bit “funky”… But I thought, that the baby eels were noodles, so I took a big bite and ate them with pleasure! Frenchie looked and me and said…”Darling, you are aware that you are eating tiny ells, right?” If I had known this from the start, Frenchie would have had the pleasure of another delicious seafood dish without me interfering in his little feeding-party, but thank God I didn’t know, as baby eels are actually very, very delicious! Well, what do you know!
Classic and juicy “Gambas al pil-pil” : Prawns in olive oil, garlic and dried hot chilli peppers. A favourite of mine! (Just be aware of the chili, if you choose to dip your bread in it! It’s not for the faint-hearted)
– And just as you thought, that we were done with our mains… “Patatas bravas”: Deep-fried potatoes in chilli and garlic sauce and…
“Chorizo al vino”: Spanish sausage in a red wine sauce (Still dreaming of this dish)
Another classis tapas dish! “Albóndigas”: Meatballs (We finished everything with no regrets! It was sublime!)
As the light dimmed and the bottle of wine became empty, someone was in a romantic mood! (Once a Frenchie, always a Frenchie!)
Our desserts came just in time before things became too hot!
“Sacher de chocolate c/helado”: Homemade chocolate cake, with vanilla ice cream and “Tarta santiago”: Traditional Galician cake made with almonds, served with vanilla ice cream! Both delicious! I would definitely order the chocolate cake again!
Heeeere we go again… I am not exactly sure, what it is about El Pirata, but it certainly is the perfect place for a datenight!
We had such a lovely evening at El Pirata. After having eaten here, I can see, why the place is so popular! The food really is spectacular. The ingredients are of high quality and you get all the traditional dishes including some special ones (like the baby eels!)
As the photos show we were in a great mood, when leaving the restaurant – especially Frenchie, who started singing Julio Iglesias for me in the middle of Down Street! (Frenchie actually speaks fluently Spanish, as he has worked in Barcelona in his younger years!) One thing is for sure – we will be back! And we will send other new parents in the same direction!
We were guests of El Pirata of Mayfair! All opinions are as always my own