Not to be mistaken by its slightly more traditional Mayfair location, El Pirata, this is the sleek, slightly more hip Notting Hill location – El Pirata Detapas.
The restaurant is cosy with simple décor and an airy feel to it with front tables exposed to the bustle of Westbourne Grove. Vintage family photos and Spanish street art hang on the walls and tables lead to a large wine wall and glass bar at the back.
With a long list of tapas dishes to choose from, we are guided in the direction of their most popular Tasting Menu – one that sees a traditional dish battle it out with its modern equivalent course by course.
It’s a unique way to present a tasting menu, but also a brave one as some of the modern dishes seem ambitious (the poached egg, caramelized onions and cream potatoes, or liquid omelette, for example – the modern take on the Spanish omelette it was paired with).
Yet, our doubt was soon erased as course after course kept us satisfied and intrigued about what was to come next. Highlights included the cod pil-pil served with a Spanish chilli, perfectly cooked braised oxtail with pumpkin and ginger purée and dessert in the form of a fruit salad impregnated in mint vanilla and chocolate (the ladder obviously hailing from the modern corner).
Portions were generous and each came with a smile and explanation from our waiter – a key requirement in this tasting menu as sometimes the modern dishes were almost unrecognisable from their traditional counterparts.
After all was said and done, I applaud them for trying something new, but traditional still faired as the favourite in most rounds (4 out of 5 to be exact).
This is certainly not a bad thing, as it’s nice to see somewhere taking risks and each dish was still well executed. And any restaurant that can successfully use impregnated on a menu is worth visiting in my books.
Visit El Pirata Detapas on a balmy evening and sit at one of the front tables to enjoy some Spanish wine and small plates. Or hire their downstairs private dining room for a private party – suitable for groups up to 30.