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.
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.
£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.
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.
Details: 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2SB (Ph 020 7727 6500) Tube: Notting Hill Gate