On the Bay of Bisque in the mountainous Basque Country lies San Sebastian, a picturesque town known for its up-market shops, local wines and above all, its vibrant pintxos bars. It might sound worlds away from the city of Bath, but thanks to husband and wife duo Mark and Teresa Mentzel, a bite of San Sebastian is closer than you might think.
Roughly halfway down Barton Street, you’ll find Pintxo with its understated exterior; a few marble-topped tables line the street on sunny days, and on cold winter evenings a tungsten glow illuminates the path outside as if extending a welcoming hand. For a taste of what lies within you only have to look above the door to see the words “Bodega. Tapas. Sherry.” stamped in an effortless monospace typeface.
If first impressions say anything at all, then stepping inside Pintxo will reveal the efforts Mark and Teresa have gone to in order to create a home for San Sebastian in the centre of Bath. Oak barrels alluding to the import of aged sherry line the front of the bar, whilst patterned tiles you see scattered on homes across the Mediterranean adorn the wall. Elsewhere, there’s a minimalist industrial theme with incandescent bulbs suspended above steel-framed tables and simple wooden stools and chairs. On one wall, a roll of paper stretches out to reveal some specials, usually noting the latest and greatest wines and sherries to grace the menu. It’s a cool space, which seems both thoughtfully designed and stylish, whilst exuberating an effortless and unpretentious vibe.
Whatever atmosphere the space creates, it works. We guarantee you’ll have a hankering for a good glass of wine and a morsel to eat as soon as you set foot inside. And you’re in luck. Pintxo know their way around Spanish small plates like no-one else we know. Their menu changes on the regular, but just glance across their sample menu on their website if you want a flavour of what’s cooking; we’re talking plenty of fresh seafood, sharp pickled vegetables, crisp croquettes and much, much more. It’s all made fresh and is plated beautifully so you can really indulge all of your senses.
Their also pros when it comes to sherry. If you’ve only had a glass of Bristol Cream Sherry and reeled at the taste, then you’re not alone; but you’re getting sherry all wrong. The Pintxos team stock the good stuff and are on hand to recommend the right sherry to suit your meal and tastes. They even have a sherry garden out the back so you can enjoy a cold one during warm sunny evenings - perfección.
Our advice - order too much. There’s such a wealth of exceptional food on the menu that it’ll be a shame not to get everything that catches your eye. Take the lot, sit back, and enjoy an evening of wining and dining in San Sebastian.