Welcome back! Every now and then I like to take a break in cooking and discover some nice places to eat. I was intrigued when I heard that a new Spanish restaurant had opened in Breda. Since it’s been some time since my last trip to Spain, I was all in.
Yesterday we finally went to El Patio Pintxos y Vinos. When coming there, you have to sneak into the courtyard, the patio. Lovely Spanish music welcomes you. Tables and chairs are aligned for sitting outside. We considered enjoying the late afternoon September sun, but finally picked inside.
Arris, the owner, gave us a very warm welcome and was more than happy to explain us everything. We were quite early, so there were not many people yet.
A journey of wines
First of all, we had to pick a nice wine, before jumping into the pintxo-frenzy. El Patio offers a big variety of wines. From Spanish, French, Italian, German to Californian, South African and Chilean. However, there is more. Apart from the common and well known wines and the varieties from the renowned wine producing countries, you can discover less known wines. For instance, you might know wines from Israel, like a Chardonnay from the Barkan Special Reserve or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
But what about a Mavrud from Macedonia or a Moroccan Syrah? You can also discover wines from Croatia, Bulgaria and even a Georgian Tbilvino Saperavi. Arris explained to me that these countries have a very old and rich history of wines, however little is known of them in our world. That is, in fact, true. It is believed that wine production began in Georgia more than 7000 years ago.
There is even some Dutch wine from the region of Zeeland! Its mild climate allows grapes to grow. Therefore there is a tradition of making wines even as far North as the Netherlands. If you have any more questions, just ask Arris. He will be more than happy to take you on enological trip.
So here we are sipping a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon “Gallo Carnivor” from California. Time to get serious and check out some of those pintxos.
First things first, what are pintxos? They are the Basque equivalent of the Spanish “pinchos”. The word comes from the Spanish for “to pierce”, “pinchar”. As the name so kindly suggests, there are small snacks pierced with a cocktail stick. Usually it is bite-sized bread with some topping. They come either hot or cold. However, not all pintxos are pinched. And no matter what Spaniards might tell you, you’ll always have to pay for your pintxos.
You gotta catch ’em all
El Patio serves you pintxos both at the counter, where you can choose your favourite, and by passing by the tables and handing you some freshly made delicacies, that you’ll end up taking anyways, even if you had just sworn yourself the one you just had would’ve been the last one. The great thing about pitxos is that you do not order them, you take them.
You’ll get a bucket, where you will be collecting all the sticks, which will be counted in the end. Each stick has a different colour, which defines its price.
Next to the pintxos on the counter, you have a nice Jamón Ibérico that is being cut into thin slices and you dream of simply being able to slowly push every single freshly sliced piece into your mouth.
Well, you are in luck. Just ask for a nice plateau and you will be served some freshly cut Fuet, Jamón, Chorizo with Queso Manchego, Alioli, homemade salsa con tomate and crunchy bread. The tomatoes has just the perfect amount of garlic and worked great with the crunchy bread.
Homemade is the deal
At El Patio most things are homemade. The Pintxos are fresh and made from scratch. So is the water. You do not order it. You just get up and help yourself to some fresh lemon and mint or cucumber and lime water. You can have as much as you like, since it is free! Arris believes water should always be free and I wish more people shared his opinion.
If you are very tough or just brave enough to dare to order some dessert after having eaten your way through all the pintxos and plateaus, you can enjoy some dessert. What about some crema catalana cheesecake or some fresh figs? Unfortunately, my stomach refused to accept any more food, which means I will be forced to go there for a second round..
Now it is time for the bill. El Patio offers a great atmosphere and some lovely food and at a good price. Even if you end up eating a lot, your wallet won’t be screaming out in pain.
On your way out, don’t forget to ask for some homemade limoncello. Arris makes the best chili limoncello, ever! And if that is too hot for you, just go for the soothing version with vanilla.