Thursday, 12 August 2010

El Pirata's celebratory Menu del Mundial


By David Derby

It may all seem like a long time ago that Spain stroked in the silky smooth winner against their rather more “physical” cup final opponents but those nice hombres y mujeres down at El Pirata De Tapas are continuing to encourage London to celebrate. On the basis of the set meal being served there, Mondays to Fridays lunch and dinner, until 31st August 2010, it would be sensible to cast any lingering resentments aside and get stuck in.

After negotiating the infamous, Badminton-cross-country entry door arrangements and being charmingly greeted by the staff, the Menu Del Mundial begins with a celebratory glass of Cava accompanied by a selection of cold meats, creamy aioli and fresh bread.

Then, two flights of tapas, each comprising three dishes. First up, Broken Egg/Serrano Ham/Potatoes, Grilled Chorizo and Paprika Crispy Fried Squid. The broken egg is formed generously in a cutter and bears resemblance to a rustic undercooked tortilla; no harm in that. The chorizo is sliced and grilled and copious. The squid is fine.

After that, Pork Belly/Parsnip Puree/Red Wine Pear, Fried New Potatoes/Mojo Picon Sauce, and Beef Croquettes. The pork belly is the centerpiece and rightly so. It is soft, unctuous and delicious and there is something approaching crackling atop it. Its companions suffer by comparison: a bit too salty and too like what has come before.

Neither of which complaint can be leveled at the dessert which is fresh strawberries with a foam made of strawberries, sugar and cream. Refreshing.

At less than £26 per person (min. 2) including service and the glass of cava, this menu represents astonishing value. In the unlikely event of remaining hungry, it is always possible to supplement the menu from the varied array of other tapas on the a la carte. (Oddly, no Dutch dishes though.)

Last Monday, El Pirata De Tapas was full; so bookings are strongly recommended.

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