I learnt a lot at El Pirata Detapas last night. While MTV boyfriend and I lingered over our meal in this relatively new tapas bar in Bayswater I learnt that one of the girls at the table on my right has found out that her ex boyfriend is potentially in a new relationship through Facebook and that the older couple on my left could not believe how cold the weather is this weekend. I didn’t actually want to find out so much about my fellow diners lives but the tables at El Pirata Detapas are so close together that you have the intimacy as if you were sitting cheek to jowl at an actual bar combined with the ignominy of having to squeeze your bum against your neighbours table just to manoeuvre yourself into a seat.
So I wasn’t happy with the tables at El Pirata Detapas but the food and service were both pretty good. We opted for what was billed as the “degustation” menu at £16 per head. This kicked off with good sourdough bread with aioli. The aioli was very strong on the garlic so I made sure to have just as much of it as MTV boyfriend so that there were no breath issues later on in the night. The bread was also served with a “selection of charcuterie” and roasted piquillo peppers. The peppers were intense and sweet, however I was disappointed that our selection of charcuterie was obviously pre-prepared rather than the jamon being freshly sliced from the large leg displayed at the end of the bar.
I ordered some Sangria which came in one of the smallest glasses I have ever seen without a skerrick of lemon, orange or other fruit to jazz it up. Clearly, I should have followed the lead of MTV boyfriend and gone for a beer instead. Our next flurry of dishes arrived and creamy serrano ham croquettes, paprika crispy fried squid and asparagus topped with shavings of manchego cheese (pictured) were all spot on. The next dishes of chicken in garlic sauce and pobre potatos which comprised a medallion of slightly soggy potato slices topped with fried onion were a bit more lacklustre. Roasted pork belly with rioja jus was beautifully presented in a perfect square of pork belly dripping in jus and accompanied by a sliver of pear and roast potato. The flavours were delicious however I was disappointed to find a large bit of gristle in the pork belly.
We finished off with one of El Pirata DeTapas’ signature dishes of calasparro rice pudding for dessert. Calasparro is a Spanish rice which I have to say did not taste any different in a pudding to general rice however the pudding was saved somewhat by the topping of little crispy bits of rice which tasted and looked quite similar to rice krispies (or rice bubbles if you are Australian like me).
If I went back I would order my own dishes rather than eat off the degustation menu as I don’t think the selection offered was that exciting and if I ran El Pirata De Tapas I’d get rid of a few tables to give those having a Facebook relationship crisis a bit of privacy.