There are currently three Barrafina tapas bars in London. The original, on Frith Street in SoHo has just retained its Michelin Star – as the only starred restaurant in the country with a ‘no reservations’ policy, if you turn up and manage to bag a table without having to queue, buy a lottery ticket because it’s your lucky day!
What Michelin say, “For proof that great food is about great sourcing, come to this terrific, warmly run tapas bar from the Hart brothers - but be prepared to queue for gaps at the counter. Wonderful, fresh ingredients and expert cooking allow natural flavours to shine - the seafood is particularly stunning.”
Banderilla – taking their name from the barbed spears used in bullfighting, these Barrafina banderillas are a cut above the little fellas you typically find in jars.
Salchichón de Vic – having studied at the Universitat de Vic part of my degree, I always order this salami type sausage when I see it on a menu.
Ham Croquetas – you can’t go wrong with a good ham croquette and thanks to a piping hot béchamel and quality ham, Barrafina’s are a GOOD ham croquette!
Classic Tortilla – with its oozing centre, this is another joy of a dish. A must order when dining at Barrafina.
Morcilla Ibérica, Quail Eggs – fried quail’s eggs have to be one of the cutest things in cookery, their cute factor tempered but flavour boosted by meaty chunks of black pudding (morcilla). Another delight.
Tuna Tartar – alongside a smooth quenelle of guacamole, the tuna tartare comes delicately flavoured with a hint of sesame oil and seeds. Perfectly balanced.
Carabinero – taking their name from “police” because their bright red colour resembled the uniform of “customs officers”, these prawns are one of the most prized (and expensive) in the world – this beauty cost £16.80.
Rabbit Shoulder, Black Olive Alioli – from the specials board, in a delightful herb crust, the meat was moist and tender; to perfect the dish, I’d have liked a little more pep to the alioli.
Octopus with Capers – my favourite of the dishes (anything with capers always is!), the octopus had the most delicious sweet, subtle flavour and fatty texture and came served on a heart-warmingly beautiful wooden board (the people @WeWantPlates can do one!).
Channelling my inner diva, I don’t normally “do queues” but Barrafina is worth it.