Barrafina *


Great tapas food. Barrafina Frith Street.

History and Background:

Around since 2007, Barrafina was one of the newly awarded Michelin star restaurants in September 2014. Unconventional, there aren’t many Spanish tapas bars around with a Michelin star rating, and despite what you might think, a restaurant awarded with a Michelin star rating isn’t a decision factor for me at all when it comes to reviewing a meal. This was a restaurant sought out by word of mouth and therefore a visit was beckoning…

With a semi-open kitchen, Mallorcan and Catalan tapas dishes flood the menu, dishes are exquisitely laid out to perfection. Forget the prices and focus on the taste. It’s tapas after all, so it’s never cheap!

Hourly long waits, Barrafina doesn’t do bookings, but you can eat in the queue as you line up against the wall and enjoy petite eats. See below…

The meal:

[Queue eats] Date £3.50
This was eaten in the queue, and was one of the specials on that day. Sweet but meaty. While you’re waiting, you should definitely try some of the smaller eats!

[Queue eats] Chorizo and Potato Chips £3.30
[Queue eats] Ham Croquettes £4.50
And these are only teasers for what is to come…

Queen’s Scallops Tempura £2.80
Elegance in a shell.
Deep fried red mullet £7.20
Soft and enriching flavours

The food is really as good as they look. The queen scallop, small and dainty, but instantly melts in your mouth as soon as you devour it. Fish can easily be overcooked, but the mullet was grilled just right, and the sauces that complement the fish was not too heavy.

Clams £8.80
As good as they look?

Unfortunately for me, and for Poyee, the clams were just so-so. It was nothing special, but maybe because seafood doesn’t appeal to me as much as the other tapas dishes would.

Courgette Flower £7.80

This vegetarian dish was my favourite. So unexpected and so sweet, the courgette flower had essence of some sort of honey or maple syrup, with goats cheese. Tangy and succulent. I highly recommend this.

Utterly brilliant, and exquisitely designed.
Grilled Quail Al-i-Oli £7.50

They do quails here too. The sauce complemented the grilled quail well. Crispy and tender. The dish below, the chicken breast was sub-normal, but still above average for the typical London meal.

Chicken Thigh with Romesco Sauce £7.50
Chef at work
Octopus with Capers £9.80

This one was mediocre, a lot of people order this, but maybe again, I’m not that familiar with octopus (aside from Japanese takoyaki balls) or seafood in general so it wasn’t to my taste. The octopus lacked flavour, and was too oily (it was topped with too much olive oil), the pickled capers were the only thing that gave it real flavour.

Crema Catalana £4.50

Creme Brulee was ok, a bit too rich, and maybe because we were too full. I would recommend going to other places specifically for desserts, but nevertheless, Barrafina holds the title as the best tapas in town.

Would recommend desserts elsewhere

Service: 12.5% service charge, there is £1.00 to Help the Homeless too, that was added on to our bill. Waiters are friendly, but there aren’t many since its a tapas bar. It’s more like you watch the chefs at work and they serve you directly.

Bits and bobs:

  • They have a second branch, on adelaide street (between Covent Garden and Charing Cross).

Price: ££ – £££

Since it’s tapas, it really depends how much you order. For us, £82.00 for 2..

Barrafina on Urbanspoon

Square Meal


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