Pix Pinxtos

The array of “pinxtos” or small plates lined up at the bar at Pix Pinxtos in Notting Hill can add up to death by a thousand fiscal cuts. That’s the problem with tapas, and particularly small tapas that aren’t really very filling, you end up eating so many of them that you could have gone to a decent restaurant and ordered three courses for the same price.

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Peppers stuffed with goats cheese

Pix has been open for less than a year on the site of the old Tea Palace and the formality of the tea room is gone and replaced by white tiled walls, a long marble topped bar and an ecelectic collection of well worn wooden tables and chairs in all shapes and sizes. Pinxtos is pronounced pinchos but spelt with an x in the Basque region of Spain. Whatever pinxtos are being served that day sit at the end of the bar where you can help yourself. Each dish is skewered with a little wooden stick and when it comes time to pay, you are charged according to the number of empty sticks you have at £2.50 a stick. The concept is admirably simple and one I have experienced in Spanish tapas bars but in Pix what you get for your £2.50 a stick varies wildly.

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The bar where the tapas are displayed

£2.50 was quite good value for a skewer of fresh calamari rings perched on top of a wedge of lemon and served with a dollop of alioli. However it was not so great for not particularly fresh pan con tomate bread topped with a sliver of jamon, or for a thin wedge of Manchego cheese skewered onto a tiny piece of chorizo. It was certainly too much to pay for bland and flaccid salt cod goujons. You can’t actually order food, instead the plates are brought to the bar as they are ready so it is really a matter of luck and timing as to what will be on offer when you visit.

Of course the concept of tapas is also to drink so to that end there was quite a good Spanish influenced wine list along with a selection of Spanish beers and cavas and cocktails which are not particularly Spanish at all but seemed to be popular on our visit. Wine is served in orange coloured tumblers which may annoy serious wine aficiondos.

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Salt cod goujons

Service was helpful and Pix has free wifi which the staff helped me connect to as we were doing some holiday planning with friends over a bottle of wine. The only problem was that staff whisked away the little skewers from time to time which made it hard to keep track of the bill and how many pinxtos we had eaten. I suspect that may be the intention. If you use Pix as a snack stop on your way to an actual meal then the prices are not too bad, but if you actually tried to eat your fill here it would be quite a shock to your wallet.

Essentials
Details: 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2SB (Ph 020 7727 6500) Tube: Notting Hill Gate
Damage: Pricey
5/10

Links
My favourite restaurant for tapas in London is Barrafina, but just down the road from Pinxtos a better option is El Pirata de Tapas.
Pix on Urbanspoon

Posted by: on September 10th, 2010     11 Comments »

Category: Restaurants - Spanish, W11
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11 Comments on “Pix Pinxtos”

  1. Greedy Diva said at 9:28 am on September 10th, 2010:

    I did wonder about this place – love your phrase “death by a thousand fiscal cuts” – so often the case with small plates dining. Did you ever try the Tea Palace on the site previously? – I always wanted to try it.

  2. Mr Noodles said at 9:31 am on September 10th, 2010:

    Working out the bill by counting the empty sticks is similar to how the bill used to be worked out in the olden days for dim sum. Instead of counting sticks, the number of empty baskets and plates were counted.

    BTW I wonder if they’ll notice if you hide some of the sticks?

  3. Lizzie said at 9:58 am on September 10th, 2010:

    Hmmm… I imagine if they tried to whisk the sticks away I would become very suspicious of them trying to diddle me. I also have no self control so I imagine I’d get into trouble here!

  4. Catalan Cooking said at 10:00 am on September 10th, 2010:

    That’s the problem with transporting these pintxo places to the UK. IN the Basque country people only go to them for a couple of pintxos as an aperitivo. They then go home or elsewhere for lunch. It works out really expensive to eat a full meal of Pintxos in Bilbao as well as London.
    Pix Pintxos did look good though from your photos. Maybe we just have to do something to try and create and aperitivo culture here.

  5. catty said at 1:38 pm on September 10th, 2010:

    Hehe I like your point that a price may look cheap but you dont know how large (or more worryingly – small) a stick is going to be. I do love eating like this though, just picking at this or that :)

  6. Heavenly Housewife said at 5:12 pm on September 10th, 2010:

    While I do love tapas, I agree, for the price, I prefer a nice proper meal with all the trimmings :). I wish i was the kind of girl to be satisfied with little bites, but alas…
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  7. Anna Johnston said at 1:43 am on September 11th, 2010:

    I love the concept of Tapas they can be hugely expensive. These looked pretty awesome though, and it is so good to just sit there with your peeps & have a chat & have food like that on hand.

  8. Fritos and Foie Gras said at 3:55 am on September 12th, 2010:

    Hey there-I really love your blog, and want to let you know that you are a great writer! I am headed to London with this winter and def want to check out St. Johns and Tayyabs-I will keep my eyes open for other restaurants you recommend!

  9. Gourmet Chick said at 7:30 pm on September 12th, 2010:

    Greedy Diva – Yes I did try the Tea Palace there is a review on it under the links. Such a shame it closed.

    Mr Noodles – I didn’t know that bout dim sum – interesting. I think they keep a tight watch on the sticks!

    Lizzie – I also have no self control so it was a bad restaurant for me!

    Catalan cooking – That is a good point so perhaps it is all about adopting a different approach. I have enjoyed tapas bars using similar systems in Spain but they seemed to be much more reasonably priced.

    Catty – little snacks are a fun way to eat

    HH – If I eat just little bites I need a lot of them!

    Anna – yes the expense is an issue

    Fritos – Thanks very much – yes I think St John’s is a must visit for a trip to London

  10. Gin and Crumpets said at 12:23 pm on September 13th, 2010:

    ha, I had exactly the same thought as Mr Noodles: “I wonder if they’d notice if I hid some of the sticks?” After a few orange tumblers of wine, I suspect I’d become convinced they wouldn’t notice and karmically jab myself in the thigh.

  11. Gourmet Chick said at 9:52 pm on September 14th, 2010:

    Gin and Crumpets – ah yes – revenge of the little stick!


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