Saturday, February 2, 2013

Barrafina: a taste of Barcelona at a tapas bar in Soho




Whenever I go to a Spanish restaurant in London, I always mentally compare it to Barrafina in Soho. Among all the good Spanish restaurants I've been to like DonostiaJoseBrindisa - I tend to favour Barrafina. It's partly due to the amazing food, the friendly service and the buzzy vibe that makes me feel like I'm in a tapas bar in Barcelona and partly due to the fact that even though there is a crazy waiting time of say one hour or more (which is sadly becoming a norm in London), you can start drinking and even eating from the moment you queue!

Ham Croquetas

It's the perfect place to go with a friend and the two of you have a lot to catch up on because then you don't really mind the ridiculous wait. Picture this: you're inside the tiny little buzzing bar atmosphere of Barrafina, at the back of the queue but you're able to order a glass of wine and soon you move forward to stand against the wall with a counter and then you start ordering some small tapas. Some Pimientos de Padron to start, gleaming green peppers fried and covered in sea salt, then my staple of pan con tomato - toasted bread rubbed with garlic and covered in chopped tomatoes and olive and of course ham Croquetas. I wouldn't be me if I didn't order some croquetas. And the ones at Barrafina are in my book, the best kind. Creamy bechemal sauce studded with bits of Spanish ham, covered in breadcrumbs and fried to have the perfect crispy coating. Amazing.

Iberico Pork Fillet



Another must have dish for me is the tuna tartar. It doesn't really seem like a typical Spanish dish but it tastes so good that I secretly wish I could order another plate. Tiny cubes of raw tuna flavoured with sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds and served with an avocado puree -  invigorating your taste buds. I don't know how to better describe it - you need to try it.

 This time I was lucky to be with my friend who generously let me do all the ordering. So even after having all the above, I wanted to try more! I'm blaming the bottle of red wine we had for the utterly gluttony that follows. 


  We picked two of the specials of the day - Sprats (tiny little fried fish) and the Iberico pork fillet with a cauliflower puree and also had the grilled chorizo with a watercress salad. And then with a slightly last minute appearance of self control, I did not order dessert. My wallet however didn't thank me later when the bill came up to £50 per person. A bit steep but totally worth it - dining at Barrafina was an awesome way to spend a Friday night with a friend.


Sprats & Grilled Chorizo, Potatoes, Watercress

Barrafina

54 Frith Street London W1D 4SL
(No reservations taken)
Tube: Tottenham Court Road

http://www.barrafina.co.uk/

Barrafina on Urbanspoon

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