Harry Thornhill, a director of London-based Spanish restaurant Pix, offers you a peek inside the family business and explains the inspiration behind the pintxos.
Describe pintxos (mini tapas) in three words…
Fresh, cute and sociable.
We love how simple the concept of Pix is – where did the idea originate from?
We became familiar with the concept of pintxos on the many visits we took to Spain while visiting my little brother who briefly lived there with his mother. We loved the relaxed nature of the concept and the versatility of the food.
Why the name Pix?
The name is really a play on the word pintxos and sticks as, in Spanish, the word pintxo literally means thorn or spike. Something that is crucial to our concept!
What regions of Spain influenced your menu?
Barcelona, as this is where we originally discovered the concept of pintxos and where my father now lives with my little brother (well Sitges technically). And of course San Sebastian, as it is the area in which pintxos originated and is still very popular.
And your favourite pintxo…?
It depends on my mood! I’d say our quince-coated chorizo with manchego cheese is a big favourite of mine and the customers! If I’m looking for a veggie option, the spinach and sweet potato tortilla with feta cheese is a winner.
How did Pix start out?
My father and late grandfather (both named John Archie Thornhill) opened Pix in 2009. Since then, the business has grown with the involvement of many friends, old and new. I think the close nature of our relationships within the business transcends onto the customers which is a big part of what we are about.
When did you get involved?
I worked in the first branch as a waiter while at university. I have since taken over the Covent Garden branch (about four years ago) and am now a director who also focuses on marketing aspects.
How authentic are the products you source?
Since opening Pix, we started our own importation company in which we source unique products from other small family businesses within Spain with the intention of encouraging the success of small companies alike and providing exclusive Spanish products to our customers. These products include our Cava (from Miquel Pons in Penedes), several wines and our ham and cheeses (our Manchego comes from a small company in La Mancha).
Pix has such a cosy, informal atmosphere – who is the brains behind the interior design?
All of our sites are quite intimate, which I think suits the concept really well. As for the design, style and even the music, that is all down to my very dedicated and creative father (also known as the managing director) who created the plans from what he imagined Pix to be… Even down to the colour of the paint.
Tell us more about the Pandillero Card…
Pandillero means gang member in Spanish. The Pandillero is a loyalty card we give to locals, regulars, or offer as gift cards. Ask for one for free at any of our venues! Then 10% of every bill is added to the card so you can accumulate money to spend at any Pix venue in the future. Other benefits include three pintxos for £5 (Monday to Friday 12.30pm-5pm) and a free glass of cava for you and your guests on your birthday. Also, Pandillero membership includes exclusive invitations to new openings, such as Rooms by the Hour, our naughty new cocktail bar at Pix Soho which opened last month.
As the bill is based on the number of sticks you rack up there’s a certain amount of trust involved…
When it comes to our honesty policy, we like to think our customers love our food and friendly atmosphere enough to want to be honest and continue to come back! Obviously once people have had a few wines we can find them on the floor or being left on the bar, but our staff look out for things like this!
Why should Londoners try Pix above other restaurants?
There are many bars and many more formal restaurants around, but few places that provide something in between. Pix is a place where you can pop in for a quick nibble and a glass of wine before the theatre; begin a night out by lining your stomachs; and enjoy a cocktail or two with a fab playlist to go along with it.
Have you heard of Pix’s Infinity Sunday? For just £33pp you can eat as many pintxos as you can muster and drink unlimited cava in your 90-minute sitting. That’s what Sundays should be all about. Pix is giving you the chance to win unlimited cava and pintxos for two at Infinity Sunday… simply enter your details below to be entered into our prize draw.
This competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered! For more competitions CLICK HERE.
Terms & Conditions
Winners will be picked at random. No cash alternative, both guests must claim the dinner in the same booking. The competition ends Thursday 4 February 2016 at 12 noon. The dinner is valid for any of the four London Pix venues (see below).
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Pix | Carnaby | Covent Garden | Notting Hill | Soho