King of tapas
Barrafina always been regard as one of the best tapas bar in London, a tiny bar which properly can sit about 20 people at a time but doesn't stop people willing to queue up to more than an hour to experience the quality tapas on the ever busy L shape bar with an open kitchen thanks to the no booking policy. So I went there with expectation of needing to wait for a while but I was well up for it as I queued over 2 hours for Burgers and Lobsters before so I am no stranger to queuing!
The bar was completely packed when we arrived and the friendly staff informed me I might need to wait a while before they got any free space but I knew the score, so off we wait at the back of the bar and we were offered to taste some Sherry and bread while we wait (modern marketing for no booking restaurants), we were actually quite lucky as moment later the queue filled up the back bar and people had to wait outside the door. The staff was very helpful for our choice of Sherry, trying to know what we normally drinks and the types of taste we are used to before making recommendation, and his suggestion really delivered.
We got seated after about 30mins wait. We were given a special daily menu as well as the normal menu, we ordered a large selection of seafood tapas off the daily menu as I can see all the fresh seafood sitting nicely at the back of the open kitchen. First to arrive was the mussle, simply cooked with herbs and olive oil dressing. Gosh it was great, really show the class of fresh and quality ingredients, the mussle was juicy and soft, unlike those chewy and tough ones you get off supermarkets or average tapas bars. I was really impressed.
Next came the highlight of the menu, giant razor calm. Not only it was the best razor clam I eaten, but also the biggest too. Simply pan fired with the usual Mediterranean seasoning, it was amazing. The texture was great and packed with the unique flavours of the razor clam, it tasted so good that I had to order another one!
The next dish was Mediterranean prawn, another quality dish, pan fired again with simple seasoning but with dash of chili and peppers, the meat was so tender, sweet and fresh. Perfectly balanced with the great seasoning, this was a prawn dish on a very high level. The only downside is at £6.50 per prawn, it is rather expensive given the prawn isn't that big.
Dover Sole was next, a whole fish cooked with lemon, garlic and olive oil dressing. So simple but yet so delightful. Fish was cooked at the perfect level with the meat can be easily cut off the bone, the sole meat was sweet and moist, the garlic and lemon really lifted up the flavours and the skin was crispy and tasty after sucking up all the perfectly executed seasoning.
|part of the kitchen|
Dish after dish of quality seafood, next we had the octopus. That was stunning, it was by far the best octopus dish I ever had in my life. The octopus was so tender with just a hint of sweetness, great with the salty capers and seasoning again was spot on, this dish showcase the importance of using top quality ingredients for seafood as otherwise no matter how good your cooking and seasoning are, the octopus will taste like rubber and lack of neutral flavours.
Chipirones came next, which were deep fired little squids, it was nice but nothing special compare to all the previous dishes I had, a little too salty which needed lemon juice to offset it. Enjoyed the ham croquetas however, deep fired ham and cheese ball, a classic Spanish tapa.
For the classic tortilla we went for the prawn and piquillo pepper tortilla. What a wonderful egg dish it was, pan fired in a tiny pot, the sweetness of the prawn and the juice of the pepper blended nicely together with the egg, which was still runny in the middle, lovely in both texture and taste.
|prawn and piquillo pepper tortilla|
Final dish was the Iberico pig trotter, it was rich and bold in flavours. Please to see trotter on the menu as it has such a unique texture of eatable soft bone and thin meat. The sweet jus and herbs created a fresh and sweet taste in the meat and the texture really given the month a unique experience while chewing the soft bone.
|Iberico pig trotter|
Overall a very quality meal, definitely over ordered as the bill was more expensive than a Michelin lunch... we were being greedy and had to skip dessert at the end, the price can easily be reduce to around £40 per person with about 3 tapas per person. I can't compare this place to Cambio de Tercio, as while both are Spanish, one is focusing on cutting edge fine dinning Spanish while at Barrafina is all about perfecting simple tapas and fresh ingredients. Now I totally understand why this place is so popular and rightly deserve to be, the queuing was well worth it.
£70 per head with 3 glasses of wine
54 Frith St, London, Greater
London W1D 4SL