Pinchito Tapas restaurants were designed and launched by four friends with a passion for food, drink of all kinds and, naturally, all things Spanish. Bruce Bartholomew might not have a Spanish name but he is a founder and director and the man who entertained me at the W1 branch. He has a fine pedigree of over ten years of working in fashionable London drinking establishments, including Beach Blanket Babylon, Zeta (Hilton), Cabaret Prophecy and Hakassan. He is justifiably proud of this, his latest venture.
I wasn’t at Pinchito’s for evening tapas nor for one of their renowned Paella Masterclasses, I was here for breakfast. Yes, dear reader, I can hear you raising your eyebrows, but read on. The Spanish have three meals a day just like the lucky ones in most of the rest of the world. The earliest one falls after dinner and before lunch and is called breakfast, or at least it is by English-speaking Spaniards.
Pinchito opens at 10am to catch the passing trade heading for the Tottenham Court Road, as well as a few business folk who want a quiet oasis outside the confines of their office walls. It’s conveniently placed just a stone’s throw from Goodge Street station. It’s not the faux-Spanish style of eatery which is mushrooming all over Greater London. Neither a sombrero nor a straw donkey in sight. No, this is urban. This is city. This has edgy but thoughtfully composed style. It’s not the Costa Brava. This is us.
The high bar, open kitchen, artwork, leatherette booths, stools and black tables provide a convivial space that works for breakfast, lunch or the ever-popular evening tapas. The late morning and lunch crowd can spread themselves by the window or people-watch at the tables outside. It’s just far enough away from Tottenham Court Road to provide a bit of peace. The night-time throng can fill the booths near the bar or perch on those high stools in a sophisticated fashion, a trick I have never mastered.
Why choose a Spanish breakfast? Quite simply because it’s varied and delicious. Pinchito offers several of their tapas items that work well as a breakfast or brunch. A traditional morning snack in Spain is a bowl of churros and some hot chocolate. You won’t be disappointed with the version here. The fried, sugar-dredged loops of dough are golden and crunchy with a piping hot and tender interior. They are moreish when dipped into a rich and molten bath of dark chocolate. This is also a favourite dessert tapa for later in the day.
So perhaps you are the savoury sort in the morning. Nothing sweeter than a smear of Marmite on toast? Well, fear not. There is plenty here for you and you could do worse than start with a plate of delicately marbled Serrano ham. Think of your favourite bacon butty and you’ll get the idea. A nice thick wedge of Spanish omelette works well as a foil for that deliciously salty ham. So now you have your eggs and a few potatoes as well. A different presentation from your traditional fry-up but what a fine start to a summer morning in the city.
Pinchito has hit the right note. It is justifiably celebrated for its quality tapas at unbeatable prices. Everything is made on the premises by chefs who won’t cut corners. They use authentic ingredients to present dishes that are as good as you will find, inside or outside Spain. Continued attention to detail and high standards will assure their lasting success. I’ll return for an evening of grazing that won’t break the bank. I’ll start with more Serrano ham, some Patatas Bravas, perhaps a few Padron peppers…
Mon-Sat 10am till midnight
Sun 10am till 5pm
11 Bayley Street, Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HD
Phone: 0207 637 3977
Visit Pinchito here
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018