This venue has closed.
Set over two floors of a gorgeous converted residential house with terraces and a small wine cellar, El Patio comes from the owners of the now-closed Bonito. The menu, with imported Iberian meats and cheeses and a smattering of organic ingredients throughout, mixes traditional Spanish fare with more unique creations, and it's the former that succeeds best.
Still in soft opening on our visit, the starters and tapas were solid, with a few standouts. The goat cheese salad (78RMB) works, with gooey Spanish goat cheese complemented by the crunch of crushed walnuts and an intense honey-sweet balsamic dressing, though it feels a tad pricey – as do the cocktails, like a Cosmopolitan at 78RMB. The tapas list features greasy, guiltily good patatas bravas (48RMB) and a fine, generous Spanish omelette (52RMB). One of the best dishes is the roasted lamb (98RMB): a morsel of lamb in a bath of melted cheese with rosemary; the pungent smokiness against the shred-tender meat is sublime.
Some of El Patio's more creative dishes fall short, however. The beef fillet with blue cheese in crispy candy (88RMB) looks flashy: three cubes wrapped in filo like neat packages. But they are excessively greasy and filled with overly chewy and overly-salty meat. Crashed egg and Spanish chorizo (78RMB) is merely a fried egg atop a few cubes of sausage and some oily potato slices – it's tasty, just not at this price. However, these dishes still beat the tuna fish with caramelised tomato, eggplant and sweet soy sauce (98RMB) – the chunks of fish are flavourless, brown and over-cooked, their only strong point the whimsical plating, like lollipops on skewers.
Better to head straight to dessert: the oozing chocolate coulant with orange ice cream (68RMB) is a perfectly executed version of this popular standard. The service is eager, professional and omnipresent, and the kitchen, while young in China and likely still experimenting, shows it's capable of producing quality Spanish dishes.
By Jake Newby