If you thought Armadale was simply a land of ladies in puffer vests and furniture stores, Lona Pintxos has arrived to prove you wrong. Lona is a long, slinky space with smart brown leather booths, a mezzanine for optimum people watching and our favourite drinking snacks from the Basque country in Spain.
Pintxos (that’s pin-choss to you) are a style of tapas – usually a series of meats and pickled things on rounds of bread – designed to fill the gap between lunch and a late Spanish dinner. Not working on Spanish time? There’s enough variety to the snacks here to make yourself a meal.
It’s a fun concept. You help yourself to nibbly things laid out near the bar, as well as hot options that are brought around on trays. Each pintxos has a toothpick in it, which you save and present to the cashier at the end of the night. It’s kind of half Sizzler, half yum cha and a whole lot of awesome.
Pintxos come in two sizes at Lona: ‘littlies’ ($3) might be a rosette of jamon on good bread, or creamy saffron arancini filled with Manchego cheese and green Manzanilla olives. The ‘big boys’ ($5) include single, juicy lamb cutlets rubbed with chermoula (herbs, lemon, cumin), or bourbon-braised pork sliders on baby brioche buns. There’s even cheeky dessert pintxos – a chocolate truffle plugging a shot glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry. Drinks continue the Spanish theme, with a swag of tempranillos and Estrella de Galicia beer on tap.
At lunch you might spy business types putting away a few sneaky cheese-stuffed jalapeños. Come the evening, groups of friends move in and get busy interspersing drinks and chat with snacks.
Love a bargain? Join Club Lona – signup is free and members get half-price pintxos from noon till 4pm.
So does the cleaning lady find piles of toothpicks hidden under the napkin dispensers? Owner Charles Sedgley says no. Turns out, at the pointy end, human nature is inherently good.