Barrafina first opened its doors in London back in 2007 and has been winning Londoners’ hearts for a decade now. They specialise in Mallorcan & Catalan Spanish tapas, and we all know such concept work extremely well in London. So it’s not surprising to see Barrafina being listed on Time Out London‘s list of 100 best restaurants and see queues outside its restaurants. It started with the branch at Dean Street in Soho, and then expanded with two other branches at Adelaide Street (near Charing Cross / Leicester Square) and Drury Lane (near Covent Garden).
On a Saturday for a late lunch, we decided to visit the Barrafina‘s Adelaide Street branch. We arrived around 2pm and thankfully only needed to wait for about 10 minutes or so. Do bear in mind that they only open from 12 to 3pm for lunch and then reopen from 5 to 11pm for dinner session.
The restaurant is just one big simple room with an open kitchen at the centre surrounded by a long marble countertop bar table. After being seated, the staff explained the menu in details and introduced us their chef’s specials menu. Each branch has their own specials menu and you can check at their door before popping in.
Classic Tortilla £8
These tortillas are probably the most signature dish at Barrafina. There are three tortilla options on the menu – the Classic one, one with Gambas, Ajetes and Setas, and one with Morcilla and Piquillo Pepper.
It might just be eggs and potatoes but there’s a lovely touch of sophistication on how this dish was served. The golden colour was already so appealing to the eye. With a gentle sprinkle of sea salt on top, it adds a simple touch of elegance to this ordinary dish. As we cut the tortilla open, the egg and sauteed potatoes just started oozing out. It was absolutely flavoursome and delicious. We just simply couldn’t get enough of it and were fighting for the final bite!
Arroz de Marisco £16.5
Arroz de Marisco translates as Seafood Rice. It’s quite similar to a paella but saucier. We certainly weren’t expecting the large grilled squid on top and were more than delighted to savour all that seafood. The seafood tasted surprisingly fresh. The most memorable part was the squid, which was beautifully tender. It was one saucy and savoury dish that sends a wave of satisfaction in your belly.
Lemon Sole with Ajada £16.80
And here comes one of the chef’s specials and is actually the one that made me choose this particular branch to visit. Basically I saw a picture of this dish on Instagram that tags the Adelaide Street branch. Knowing it’s not on the regular menu, I made sure I get to come to this branch as soon as possible so that I don’t miss out.
The staff explained to us that the dish involves garlic, paprika, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, herbs, and sherry wine (excuse me if I missed out any). My heart sank when he says sherry wine. So I persistently asked if they can specially omit the wine for me when cooking. Thankfully they agreed and made us a special order. It’s easier as well when it’s all freshly cooked in front of you at an open kitchen.
Was it worth all the ‘troubles’? Yes it was certainly worthwhile. There is such a refreshing flavour from the dish. The soft and flaky flesh were absolutely a delight. It was tangy to the palate with an elegant touch. Also it was very visually appealing to see it served as a whole fish.
Cuttlefish & Chicken Oyster £15.90
This one wasn’t for me as the chicken isn’t halal. However my friend doesn’t have that ‘restriction’ and picked this one from the chef’s specials menu.
In overall, I would definitely recommend Barrafina to everyone. It just offers great quality food at good value for money. Personally though, I don’t think it’s an ideal place a large group meal due to its bar table setting. Moreover, it doesn’t do bookings so a smaller group would be more favourable.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Halal Status: Not Halal