The brunch concept has been around for a good few decades, but it can feel like it’s a new addition to the dining options due to its growing popularity. It’s a meal that’s ideal for those wanting to catch up with friends or a social gathering during the day while allowing you to still have an evening. When I was offered to check out the El Pirata brunch in Mayfair, my friend Mandy and I jumped at the chance to check it out.
El Pirata is a firm favourite with the local Spanish community as well as those partial to Iberian cuisine. The place was in full party mode at 1:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon, with families, couples and groups of friends enjoying and sharing tapas. The food looked great as I eyed up various dishes brought out by speedy waiters to the eagerly awaiting diners.
The best thing about the El Pirata brunch is that there are no hard and fast rules on what counts as a brunch dish. And with tapas, you can sample so many dishes in one sitting.
Our waiter Victor was only too eager for us to try the various offerings, and we allowed him to make some choices for us. He said seven to eight dishes would satisfy us, and if we wanted more, we could always order later.
While we waited for our food, I noticed several Picasso paintings on the walls, adding to this old-fashioned tapas haunt, and creating a proper Spanish vibe. There’s a real sense of being in Spain in the dining space, and the chatter of waiters in Spanish added to the authentic experience.
The upstairs space is artistic with a feature bar, while the downstairs cellar is atmospheric with sectioned off areas for private dining. On sunnier days, there’s also the option to sit outside and enjoy food and drinks alfresco style.
The service was fast, four dishes at a time. First up was Pimientos de Padron Traditional Padron peppers, Pulpo al Pirata Griddled Octopus, served with fried potatoes seasoned with Paprika, Gambas al Pil-Pil Prawns in olive oil, seasoned with garlic & dried hot chilli peppers and Croquetas de Pollo Chicken Croquettes Pollo al ajillo.
Each dish was like a taste of Madrid rather than Mayfair and what I would describe as good wholesome food. While all the dishes were tasty, I noticed that there was very little chicken in the chicken croquettes, which was a bit disappointing.
Our second round of food came in the form of pan-fried chicken thighs, served in white wine, garlic & olive oil Patatas Bravas, Deep-fried potatoes served with a tomato, chilli & garlic sauce, and Broccolini al Romesco Tenderstem Broccoli served with Romesco sauce and sea bass. And I couldn’t fault any of these. Each dish was full of authentic flavours and tasted every bit of Spain.
The prices are very modest for a tapas restaurant in this part of London, and the brunch offering is fairly priced at £26 per person. If you’re looking for a good old fashioned Spanish experience, El Pirata is a great place to head to. It may not be culinary fireworks, but the food is simple, delicious and served by super friendly and helpful staff.
El Pirata – Where and How?
El Pirata is at 5-6 Down Street Mayfair, London W1J 7AQ. The brunch is available on weekends between 12:00 and 3:00 pm. For more information or to make a booking, visit https://elpirata.co.uk.
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