Pintxos (pronounced ‘peen-chos’) are Northern Spain’s answer to tapas. We recently headed over to the new Pintxos at Sotano in Bree street, and it’s the perfect place to pop in for after-work drinks in Cape Town! The pintxos consist of (very affordable) nibbles such as crispy croquettes, prosciutto on the bone, marinated olives, calamari (in a cone!) and bruschetta-style bread bites. All the plates range between R8 and R50 per plate, so it’s easy to buy a whole array of food without hurting your wallet too much.
They also offer amazing cocktails like the Bentley, the latest in the crossover drinks craze. It features a mixture of flavoured local beer, cocktail spirits and flavoured syrup; and though this might sound a bit much, the flavours really work well together and the beer offers a refreshing fizzy to the cocktail. Most of their cocktails feature interesting new spins on classics we’ve come to expect, like the Sotano Cosmo and the Honey Jack, which both feature some exciting and unexpected new flavours.
Now, for the reason we were there: the pintxos. The variety of pintxos available is amazing; there really is something for everyone! We decided to just go for it and get everything we wanted to try, so by the end of the evening we were stuffed. Most of the offering is served cold, which means that the pintxos are ready and waiting, so you just go to the counter and ask for whatever tickles your fancy. I love this system, as it means you don’t have to wait around if you’re in a hurry, and your conversation isn’t interrupted by waiters.
We decided to try a wide variety of dishes, all of which were great — we definitely weren’t disappointed! We had a mini olive baguette with thinly sliced prosciutto by Ryan Boon, green chillies wrapped in anchovy, ham & cheese croquettes, and the interesting looking calamari cone. I’m a big fan of any kind of bread and meat combo, so I absolutely adored the prosciutto baguette, while Marié has quite the affinity towards spicy food, so she loved the (very spicy) chillies and anchovy.
We both loved the ham & cheese croquettes, they were perfectly spiced, the cheese to meat to croquette ratio was perfect and the outside was just crispy and crunchy enough. But our absolute favourites were two dishes that needed to be ordered separately, as they are prepared to order. We barely had to wait for these dishes, so if you’re in a hurry you can still try them out — which is great news. The first is wild mushroom and egg yolk, a delicious, creamy combo of fried wild mushrooms which are swirled into a creamy egg yolk. The egg yolk binds with the mushrooms and creates a kind of sauce, similar to a traditional carbonara sauce, and it’s crazy good.
The second warm dish is beef shin served with mash and gravy. As we took our first bites, we were both reminded of Sunday lunch at Ouma’s house. The beef is cooked to perfection and melts in your mouth, leaving you with those well-known and well-loved South African Sunday roast flavours.
All in all, this is a great place to relax after work or grab a few drinks and nibbles before going out. They get the portion sizes (and pricing!) right, so you won’t break the bank, but you still leave satisfied at the end of the evening.