Barrafina

barrafina octopus

Happy New Year! May 2015 be the year of many successes and happiness.

With every New Year, comes a new resolution, or in my case resolutions, usually overly ambitious thus unsustainable and doomed from the start. So this year rather than banding around numerous vague aspirations, I have decided to focus on one thing, this blog. By the end of this year the site will have undergone a visual makeover and a lot of content will have been added, I might even try my hand at video blogs if I can somehow manage to slow down my speech to the pace of a reasonable human being. With my birthday coming up in 10 days I have also asked for a new camera, since I have had to give my brother’s back; having managed to eke out his temporary loan to me for six months. When I tried to explain that the camera was now being put to better use in my possession, rather than being used to take vacuous selfies, it didn’t go down too well and in order to avoid a family argument, I had to concede.

As part of this New Year resolution, I have decided to get my act together in terms of my reviews. Largely the excuse for my lack of reviewing has been that I haven’t had the photographs in place for the restaurants I have been to. Yet reading one of my favourite blog’s rocketandsquash, its minimal photography has inspired me to write reviews regardless of my current lack of imagery. So here it goes.

We went to Barrafina yesterday, we being my best friend and I, as a festive meal to echo in the missed New Year and the start of her graphic design course. Initially we wanted to go to the new Barrafina on Adelaide Street, having heard that it is bigger, the likelihood of getting a table being better and the menu being more experimental than the original Barrafina, with a greater emphasis placed on offal. On arrival however, we found that it was close. Whether this was down to our own stupidity or a glich on the website, I can’t comment, although common sense would suggest that it was the first. Luckily Barrafina, Frith Street was merely a 10 minute walk away.

I have never been to either of the Barrafina’s before, yet given that there was an hour’s wait on a Sunday, at the start of January, all of the praise I have heard for the tapas sisters seemed to be justified. The venue itself is small and intimate, perfect for a date but not suitable for large parties due to the nature of layout, everyone eats at the bar, in front of an open kitchen. With its no reservations policy, Barrafina has a quick turn over, yet the staff manage to keep the balance between providing a quick and relaxed service. Put simply, the more you eat, the more you stay.

Our waitress/bartender was brilliant. She knew everything about the menu and the specials of the day and didn’t hesitate to help when we were stuck with indecisiveness. It was clear that she had tasted the dishes that she was selling, which for me is one of the most crucial parts of staff training.

The food itself was fantastic. A special of steak, fig, goat’s cheese and balsamic dressing was fresh and punchy, the meat melting in your mouth. Roast quail with aioli was especially delicious as was the special, artichoke, baby gem, pancetta and hazelnut salad which worked as a great accompaniment to both meats. The standout dish for me however was the octopus and capers, perfectly cooked; I would love to have the recipe for it, because it was the most delicious octopus I have ever tasted. For dessert we had a poached pear in red wine and a Santiago almond tart, both of which were good, but lost out against their savoury counterparts.

My only criticism would be the price, with some of the more expensive dishes coming in at around £16. The quality of the ingredients, cooking and service is however reflected in the costliness, thus for an indulgent date night or a celebratory catch up, I would definitely recommend Barrafina.

Barrafina, 54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL, 02078138016 ££-£££ 8/10

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