José Pizarro at the Royal Academy of Arts

Royal Academy of Arts

With the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, Art in Mayfair and the Mayfair Sculpture Trail in full swing, why not take a break from browsing to feast on a delectable plate of pickled aubergine with Manchego cheese and a crisp glass of Rosado, right in the thick of the action?

Celebrated Spanish chef José Pizarro is perhaps best known for bringing authentic tapas to London's dynamic culinary scene. With a clutch of award-winning restaurants across the city already under his belt, he has recently opened two more dining spaces, both within the unique setting of the Royal Academy of Arts. The main restaurant, José Pizarro at the RA, is housed in the gallery's bright and airy first-floor Senate Room overlooking Burlington Gardens, while the slightly less formal Poster Bar by José, on the ground floor has more of a relaxed Spanish café vibe.

As for the new Senate Room space, José says: "The restaurant at the RA has been a true highlight of my career, and a real honour. For me, art and food are so connected: they share the same soul. They each have the power to stir the emotions, and create communities."

Menu highlights, of which there are many, include the Merluza en salsa verde (Hake, asparagus and peas in green sauce) and the Langostinos al ajillo (White wild prawns with chilli and garlic oil). And for dessert, the Tarta de Santiago de Peter, an almond tart served with raisins and PX ice cream, is truly unmissable.

"The tapas style of eating is incredibly social, with dishes coming out over an extended period while the wine flows," notes José. "It encourages people to come together and relax for longer than they usually might, constantly exciting and surprising guests at the table with delicious flavours, colours and textures. It’s not just about the food: it’s the whole experience of coming together and sharing conversation and flavours at the same time."

And if that has whetted your appetite for all things Spanish, then book your ticket for Spain and the Hispanic World showing at the Royal Academy of Arts (21 January - 10 April 2023). This highly anticipated show spans from antiquity to the 20th century and features masterpieces by Goya, Velázquez and El Greco.

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