THE SPANISH way of life seems to suit me - full of sun, sea, sand, siestas and sangria. The tapas style of food is exactly to my taste too - from peppers and tomatoes to cheeses and meats - with everyone on the table sharing a variety of different dishes.
And so it was that on a sunny July evening,I stepped out of Bayswater's Westbourne Grove through the doors of El Pirata Detapas, and into a flavour of Spain.
Throughout July, a tasting menu was on offer for £20 per head, based on dishes from the Navarro region of northern Spain.
In August, a traditional menu from Catalunya will be on offer alongside the standard menu, and in September,diners can expect to try specialities from the Basque region.
Designed for two to share, and made up of nine individual dishes, the meal was the perfect size for my healthy appetite.
We started off with bread and alioli, a vegetable stew, and grilled white asparagus with idiazabal cheese.
The stew and asparagus were delicious, but I would never have imagined they came from Spain, had I not known which restaurant I was in. The white asparagus was perfectly cooked, and complemented the cheese well.
My boyfriend Matthew's favourite dish of the meal was the piquillo pepper croquettes, which had a bit of kick to them.
The roasted cod with pepper salsa, which came with the croquettes, was the one I most enjoyed.
The fish seemed really fresh, as did the peppers in the salsa - and seemed to represent truly Spanish flavours.
Next up, we tucked into peppers filled with oxtail stew - again an unusual flavour I would not normally associate with the Mediterranean - but they were delicious.
We were then served fried new potatoes, with a spicy sauce, and chicken, paprika, roasted red peppers and serrano ham.
Just when I thought I could eat no more, I realised I had a tiny bit of room left, as a sweet dessert was brought out to finish the meal - borracho al pacharan, a Spanish cake with a fruity sauce.
The meal overall was well thought out, with a balance of flavours, and a balance of meat, fish and vegetables.
I was also glad to have had the chance to expand my knowledge of Spanish food, but trying out dishes I would not perhaps normally have gone for.
I look forward to going back to try out the menus from other regions in August and September.
El Pirata Detapas 115 Westbourne Grove Bayswater
020 7727 5000 www.elpiratadetapas.co.uk