El Pirata Detapas (CLOSED)
Time Out says
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First impressions of El Pirata Detapas, the sleeky modern Notting Hill sibling of Mayfair’s El Pirata, were poor. The place was virtually empty on a Thursday lunchtime, the lone waiter the brusque embodiment of a mañana mentality.
After a long wait examining the modish surroundings – dark wooden furniture, low lighting, cream walls, a stylish bar along the back wall – we ordered the set lunch (a snip at under £10, including a very drinkable glass of vino, and available every day).
A leaf salad with manchego, pine nuts and beetroot purée was a glamorous mix of textures, colours and sweet-salt flavours. Piquillo pepper and idiazabal (unpasteurised sheep’s cheese) croquetas were a startling pumpkin colour, but low on flavour. Simple dishes that you would expect any self-respecting tapas joint to get right were a let-down. Tortilla, though fresh, lacked both salt and olive oil; toasted bread with tomato and serrano ham proved soggy and unwieldy.
It’s a shame as the menu’s ambition – lots of foams, purées and bold combinations – shows an eagerness to subvert the clichés of Spanish cooking. Next time we’ll try the £21 tasting menu, which lists the likes of slow-roasted pork belly with pear and parsnip purée.