As soon as you walk through the elegant patio doors at Pintxos you will feel as if you’ve walked into a futuristic realm, as the multi-leveled ceiling design features conical light fixtures that will most definitely command your attention. With deep shades of grey and black set against beautiful lime green sofas and deep royal hues, Pintxos’ dining layout is perfectly positioned for small groups and gatherings. Located on the always-buzzing Seif Strip of restaurants and local boutiques, Pintxos is part of the The Sultan Center Group of Restaurants by acclaimed local restaurateur and Chef Ahmed Al-Bader, where a menu inspired by a style of cooking skewered tapas, goes to great lengths in delivering the finest fusion flavors.
The atmosphere at Pintxos is palpable with constant creation; you can’t help but overhear the acclaim coming from the group of people huddled around the restaurant’s modern rendition of the traditional shisha, and the exclamation of delight over platefuls of tapas that will thrill even the most avid of foodies. With an ambience that echoes with easy chic, and dishes that are as multifaceted as the décor, Pintxos will have you coming back to try more and more of their innovative tapas.
Built around the Basque word for ‘spike’, the culinary take on ‘Pintxo’ means skewered foods, and the good people at Pintxos have taken this term to new culinary heights. Also steering this culinary enterprise is Chef Abdulrahman Al-Khashan, who started with The Sultan Center Group of Restaurants back in October 2013. He describes the experience so far as gratifying, given that his skills as a chef are constantly being honed and developed. Not only did we learn more about this terrific concept from Chef Al-Khashan, we were lucky to have our taste buds guided by his fantastic dish recommendations that made our experience even more memorable. When it comes to his favorite dishes at Pintxos, Al-Khashan loves the tomato Andalus, the spicy yet simply chargrilled chiles in the Pimentos de Padron, and the delectable quail lollipops (yes, you read that correctly!). He added, “Anything that comes out of the Josper grill/oven is always a treat!”
When it comes to dining at Pintxos, it is recommended that you arrive hungry, and with plenty of friends to share in their many delightful offerings. You’re really never at a loss when it comes to choosing where to begin, as most of their tapas and main dishes can be enjoyed as a sharing dish. We loved the Crispy Duck Salad, with roasted-then-fried shredded duck, crispy rocket leaves, filo shreds, spinach, pomegranates and a pomegranate dressing. The tartness of the pomegranate worked perfectly with the crisped pieces of duck! The Pimente de Padron, as recommended by the chef, are simple yet flavorful. When it came to choosing which type of meaty lollipop to go with, we opted for the Chicken Lollipop, which arrived as rounded and breaded balls of chicken mousse with a honey soy dipping sauce. The skewered pieces of chicken mousse are highly addictive – you’ve been warned! You could also have the same lollipop concoction in the form of quail and shrimp, as each version is infused with special spaces that truly complement each type of protein, making each and every skewered lollipop an indulgent experience.
Pintxos has taken tapas to fusion-filled frontiers. We tried a Wagyu Asian-inspired Spring Roll, complete with an incredibly light and airy horseradish dipping sauce and we also sampled the Grilled Tiger Shrimp, which arrived with a side of Asian marinade. The Middle Eastern favorite that is chicken liver is given a twist with soy and mirin sauce, daikon radish, onion and chili. The calming aroma of green tea is infused in the form of a remoulade that accompanies the tempura Rock Shrimp tapa, and even Mexican favorites are reimagined in the most dazzling of ways!
The Chicken Tacos at Pintxos are excellent. They truly embody the flavors of Mexico with every single delicious bite. Every mouthful delivers the perfect balance between succulent chicken, fresh guacamole, cheese, and caramelized onions. The dish also arrives with chargrilled corn on the cob and Padron chilies. If you’re only in the mood for a small mouthful, then choose the chicken Tostadas, a mini taco in one bite! If you’re in the mood for seafood, beef, or good ol’ vegetables, you can rest easy because both the tacos and tostadas at Pintxos can be prepared with various types of protein or veggies according to your palate.
One of our favorite dishes was a rather simple one: The Coca flatbread with Mushrooms drizzled in an herb-infused aioli expertly balanced the earthiness of the mushrooms. If you like dishes that simply highlight the freshness of the ingredients utilized, then this flatbread won’t disappoint! We also highly recommend the Happy Bites, because in it you will find true bliss in the form of four skewered mini sandwiches. You can choose from a tenderloin beef bite with tomato jam, cheddar cheese and guacamole. Your other Happy Bites options include shrimp with a sweet chili glaze and filo tempura, Chicken with hoisin sauce and Gruyere cheese, crispy leeks with citrus aioli, and delicious fish with a signature homemade Pintxos tartar sauce. If you’re looking for a very beefy encounter, then the skewered tenderloin beef cubes, cooked to medium perfection and set atop a root vegetable mash, will definitely tantalize your palate by offering you a mini beef roast with every bite. We thoroughly enjoyed the fact that everything is made from scratch at Pintxos, the homemade sauces expertly complement the dishes, and you’ll be left asking for more!
If you’re looking for something sweet to end your Pintxos experience, we recommend the traditional yet localized Crème Catalan, infused with a hint of Cardamom! We also loved the cocktails at Pintxos, as none of their offerings utilize processed syrups, everything is made from scratch!
For your Pintxos experience, head to the Seif Strip on Gulf Road. Pintxos is open from 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. Please call 2249 8325 and follow them on Instagram @Pintxoskw.