Review: El Pirata

23 September 2013

As I had chronicled both parts of my trying London excursion in the last few posts, I leave my former favourite place in the world with one review I’ve deemed worthy of a separate entry. For one difficult afternoon I chose to visit one of my favourite places in all of London to chill, and that’s El Pirata in Mayfair.

The always-busy Spanish eatery has been an oasis for me for over a decade, and I drop in for a late lunch nearly every time I am in the town. Simple and good food done right, frankly. And sitting at the bar removes the need to deal with the often slow service.

I relaxed and enjoyed the quietness as the restaurant has always been in a mobile signal dead-zone, so no distractions. Just my wine and me — until the food comes to disturb the peace. I began the meal with a pair of asparagus dishes…

asparagi

I have to admit these didn’t quite live up to expectations at all. The whites tasted tinned, the greens tasted very ordinary. Oh, that’s too bad… But now to the good stuff…

gulas-arroz_negro

Two of my favourite dishes. First, the gulas (make what you will, but they do it damn good here) was very flavourful in a sizzling garlic sauce. Then the masterpiece, the best arroz negro in town. It’s less than the awesome one I had a few days earlier at Fino, but it’s creamy and inky in a way that I cannot describe.

Wow, that was good. I relaxed with more wine, letting the food digest. And instead of a dessert as always, I went for a plate of pata negra…nothing better for digestion…

pata_negra

Now I miss these things so much living in the States. The slicing is abysmal at best in the US, and the portions are all wrong there. This is heavenly…

A simple and good Spanish late lunch in London. No one does it better than El Pirata. Now back to the bad ol’ world…

El Pirata
5-6 Down Street
London, England

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