Restaurant Challenge – Barrafina

Continuing the restaurant challenge in style with number one on Time Out’s top 100…Barrafina Adelaide Street.

We knew we would have to queue so we we’re prepared to wait, but despite arriving at 7pm on a Friday night we were pleased to be told the wait was only 45 minutes. We made ourselves at home with a bottle of house red, some padron peppers and pan con tomate.

The padron peppers were cooked well, with just the right amount of sea salt, and the pan con tomato was excellent due to the incredible wedge of bread – though this did make it pretty hard to eat! Cue Rob spilling some on his shirt.

When we were seated 45 minutes later, we impressed by the menu – it was nice to see a mix of traditional Spanish dishes but some new things we had never tried. It was also great to be able to see into the kitchen and watch all the dishes going out. To kick things off we chose jamon iberico – a staple whenever we eat Spanish food – one of the specials, maron croquettes and a prawn, garlic and mushroom tortilla.

The maron croquettes arrived first, gorgeous cheesy goodness covered in a corn coating. Croquettes are my absolute favourite and I can never eat Spanish food without ordering them. These did not disappoint and the crispy corn coating was an additional bonus. Rob had to stop me ordering more. The jambon iberico was excellent, cut extremely thin it melted on the tongue. The tortilla looked outstanding when it arrived, and when we cut it, it even looked even better. This was excellent, the prawns were huge and the flavours worked so well together. The morcilla tortilla is top of my list to try next time. And I wouldn’t say no to the original.

For our next round we asked our waitress for inspiration. This is a great way to make sure you try the best dishes on the menu. She recommended the courgette flower, pork tenderloin and heritage tomato salad. The courgette flower was cooked perfectly, my only issue is that it was quite hard to cut in half! My job obviously, Rob can’t be trusted with such things. The filling was soft and creamy, and the stalk also the perfect texture.

The heritage tomato salad came next, a colourful mix of tomatoes and avocado with an oil and vinegar dressing, so good we ordered extra bread to mop it up. The pork came with a piquillo pepper and again was cooked beautifully, soft and tender and melt in the mouth.

We had already agreed to save room for dessert having seen the couple next to us devouring a cream and pastry slice thing. Following our success with the earlier waitress recommendations, we asked her, and she recommended the mixed berry salad, something we would have totally overlooked. It was less of a salad and more of a delicious pastry, with Chantilly cream, gorgeous thin pastry and an oil dressing. It was amazing. And even the guy next to us said how good it looked – Rob and him had made friends after he caught Rob perving on his pork rib dish.

My kind of salad

All in all a great meal. We loved Barrafina’s inventive tapas, an would definitely go back. However, not our favourite Spanish place in London, that crown still remains forever with Bar Sito. You just can’t beat simple, incredible Spanish tapas.

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