Starting with cold tapas, we nibbled huge prawns, juicy chorizo and ham, seafood and Russian salad, then we received an array of hot tapas dishes which seemed to just keep coming ….. mmmmmm!
Martin James – Food Writer
Tapas is a most sociable and flexible way to eat. The word is derived from the Spanish tapar meaning ‘to cover’ – a tapa was a cover for a pot (similar to the English word ‘top’).
Tapas-style cuisine exist in many cultures. In Venice, it’s cicchetti (literally, small plates); in Mexico, they’re called botanas; in Argentina, picada; and in Brazil, petiscos.
EL PIRATA’S MENUS
The best thing about tapas is that you can have a snack or a feast, and the menu is flexible enough to suit everybody.
As well as the main tapas menu where you can find over 60 Tapas Dishes and a Specials Menu featuring dishes like gazpacho andaluz (£4.95) and the fiery small green peppers from Galicia known as padron (£5.45). Main courses include parillada de pescado y marisco (£17.95) – mixed grilled fish and seafood platter with vegetables – and solomillo con rucola y manchego (£17.95) – grilled fillet steak on a bed of rocket with Manchego cheese shavings.
For a special treat, ask for a plate of the Bellota Jamón. It’s ham from Black Iberian Pigs, which are allowed to roam in oak woodland in the southwest of Spain where they eat acorns, herbs and roots. The oleic acid of the acorns infiltrates the meat of this pure and singular species, transferring exquisite flavours and aromas to the ham. It is said to be one of Spain’s national treasures.
There are two Set Menus priced at £18.50 and £23.50 each for two people and they both offer a great introduction to authentic Spanish tapas, and startling value for such a popular Mayfair restaurant.