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Barrafina Report - London


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Restaurants & Bars U.K./Ireland

Barrafina Report - London

Joan Kureczka | | Jan 1, 2010 08:42 AM

I mistakenly posted this first in international, but it belongs here.

Just got back from a few days in London and one of the places DH and I enjoyed was this super tapas bar in Soho, near Frith and Bateman. This is a true tapas BAR.... no tables, just counter seats and standing areas (no reservations). The offerings include both the printed menu and a long list of specials, mostly fresh seafood but also a few meat specials like the plates of suckling pig we saw go by as we waited for our seats . Sadly, they were gone by the time we sat down at the counter.

We started while we waited for seats with a plate of marcona almonds and some chorizo/potato "chips" that were strips of chorizo wrapped in potato and friend -- greasy but delicious.

Once we sat down, picking our order from among the interesting looking items that were listed (and went by) was a (pleasant) challenge. We ended up ordering some classics for this trip:

-- the Gambas al ajillo -- extremely fresh, sweet shrimp with plenty of garlic slices. Rather than sitting in garlic infused olive oil, these were quickly grilled but still very garlickly.
-- Classic tortilla, made to order. Oh yum. The onions were highly caramelized and the interior of the little tortilla (a 4-5 inch individual one) was still slightly runny. Overall flavor was like a great french onion soup turned into a Spanish tortilla. Two other variations were also available.
-- Grilled lamb chops. Two, served rare, drizzled with chive oil. Delicious.
-- Octopus with capers and smoked paprika. Very good, very tender octopus.

Would definitely go back. It was fun watching the action and there were some very interesting things on offer. Seafood specials that day included giant madagascar prawns, razor clams, whole lemon sole, sea bass, small clams. Plenty of Spanish meats, including jamon carved to order.