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 a concept has worked 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 regularly seeing queues outside its restaurants. It started with the branch at Dean Street in Soho, and then expanded with two other branches at Adelaide Street and Drury Lane.
On a Saturday for a late lunch, we decided to visit the Barrafina’s Adelaide Street branch. We arrived around 2 pm and thankfully only needed to wait for about 10 minutes or so before we got a seat. Do bear in mind that they are only opened from 12 to 3 pm for lunch service and then reopen from 5 to 11 pm 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 to their chef’s specials menu. Each branch has its own specials menu and you can check at their door before popping in.
Here is what we ordered:
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. We stuck with the classic one.
It might just be eggs and potatoes but there’s such 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 seemingly ordinary dish. As we cut the tortilla open, the egg and sauteed potatoes just started oozing out. It was ridiculously flavoursome and delicious. I’ve never had a Spanish tortilla this good and it’s probably the best egg dish I’ve ever had. We both just couldn’t get enough of it and were even fighting for the final bite of it!
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 delicious seafood. What delighted me the most was the seafood tasting surprisingly fresh. The most memorable part was the squid, which was so beautifully tender. It was one saucy and savoury dish that sent over a wave of satisfaction in your belly.
Lemon Sole with Ajada (£16.8)
And here comes one of the chef’s specials and is actually the reason 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 on this ‘specials’.
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 said sherry wine. So I persistently asked if they can specially omit the wine for me when cooking. Thankfully they kindly agreed and made us a special order.
Was it worth all the ‘troubles’? Yes, it was certainly worth it. There was such a refreshing flavour from the dish. The soft and flaky flesh was an absolute delight, carrying this tangy touch to the palate and featuring such refined flavours. Also, it was very visually appealing to see it served as a whole fish.
…Barrafina offers tremendous quality food at a great value for money. Though personally, I don’t think it’s an ideal place for a large group meal due to its bar-style table setting. A small, intimate meal would be more favourable at Barrafina. But all in all, great food all round here and I would definitely recommend it!
Not halal. Vegetarian and Pescatarian options available.
Tel: 020 7440 1456 | Website: www.barrafina.co.uk/
Nearest station: Charing Cross