Small plates restaurants are probably some of the best in the city. However the name Barrafina is now becoming associated with it when people think of tapas. Barrafina got their first Michelin star for their Soho branch last year and has made the place very popular. It is the newer Adelaide Street branch that we visited and there’s reasons we think it’s even better.
We expected a queue which is often the case at Frith Street but at 9pm on a Friday we were happy to see no queue present. There was, however, a 30 minute wait to be seated at the bar. Barrafina is renowned for its sit on bar stools in front of the kitchen and Adelaide Street presents this in a brighter fashion. The lights in Barrafina aren’t the dimly lit, romantic type. It’s more a case of bright lights to see the exquisite small plates presented to you; all of which are not allowed to be served until the head chef has taken a look. Whilst waiting there is a bar menu to pick a few delights from the full menu and it would be rude not to have their famous Crab Croquetas. Quite easily the best croquettes we’ve had to date! They don’t have the gooey cheesy-ness you expect and are in fact packed filled with amazingly seasoned crab meat. To accompany our wait we had a selection of their cured meats (which included Jamon de Bellota – some of the best jamon you can get) and a carafe of Vilosell 2011.
Our stools didn’t take long to be free and it wasn’t long before we had the real menu in front of us and it dawned on us that we wanted to order everything on the menu! As much as this sounds like a good idea, it probably wasn’t at closer to 10pm. Rather than order starters or anything of that ilk, we just ordered a selection of dishes. One of which was their special that day and that was Turbot. It’s not something that we have often but after this dish, it’ll always be ordered. The array of dishes that were chosen were as followed: Chipirones, Artichokes & Alioli, Stuffed Courgette Flower, Queen Scallop Ceviche, Turbot, Chicken Wings with Mojo Picón, Iberian Pork Ribs, Milk Fed Lamb’s Kidneys, Quail Escabeche.
The dishes came out in the order that they would be cooked and it may seem quite a lot but believe me when I say you could have a few more just for how delicious they were. Every dish was perfect in its execution and it’s difficult to find any faults with this branch of Barrafina. We quickly became good friends with the chef that was preparing dishes in front of us and it’s good to have that kind of access to a kitchen. Personal standouts for me have to be the Courgette flower, the lovely piece of turbot, the scallops and the kidneys. Not being the biggest kidney fan, and after a recommendation, I’m definitely sold.
Desserts were a must and we went for the Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce and a couple of scoops of their ice cream. Both excellent and the ricotta ice cream was special.
Three carafes of wine later and a meal we will always remember; the best tapas restaurant in London just got better.
10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HZ