Barrafina – Review (Drury Lane London)

The owners of the fabulous trio of Barrafina’s, Eton-educated Sam and Eddie Hart are behind what many will argue the best tapas restaurants in the Capital, serving à la carte plates led by executive chef Nieves Barragàn Mohacho who is of course influenced by being raised in the Basque Country and her travels to Galacia, San Sebastian & Mallorca. Earlier this year the Frith Street original which I hold dearly to my heart won a Michelin Star, a very special accolade indeed. Just a couple of weeks ago the duo opened the part 3 in the heart of the theatre land on Drury Lane which is geared towards the theatre goers, trust me on this, it is the hottest new launch since the the opening of Soho original 2008. Just like the others it operates on a no booking policy delivering beautifully sourced seasonal products served with a real depth of flavour.  Eat at any Barrafina and you will spread the gospel on how good it really is and after eating at Drury Lane I can comfortably claim that it was the best meal I have had in 2015. Let the pictures do the talking!

Strictly no bookings first come first serve ethos?  No problem, we’ll just perch ourselves on the bar behind the seating area and order some snacks and wine whilst we wait!

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Karma De Drac £30 per bottle £6 per a glass was a smart move – super fruity, light and accompanied the food really well.

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Pimientos De Pardrón £5; this is a usual suspect for most and an obvious choice for me – just like the other Barrafina’s they were cooked perfectly, plump, oily and salty. The perfect little dish to get the taste buds going.

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Bomba Ibericá £5.8; I love the name and loved the taste too. These were very good, fried to a crisp golden with a filling of potato and Iberico pork ragu. The potato provided the perfect foil for the rich ragu and with the sweet tang of the romesco sauce it just worked. My only slight grumble is that the aioli was unnecessary and it was a little pricey for a couple of mouthfuls!

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I could happily spend a few days here trying everything in rotation – we still had to forcibly prised ourselves off those stools though from being so greedy!

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The days specials we’re presented convincingly by our lovely waitress and from past experiences at Frith St we opted for Caribinero prawns £8.50 each , Razor Clams £9.80 and Beetroot Salad with White Peach £7.50. Also how could we resist not ordering any seafood after seeing it all nestled on the ice on display?

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First up from the specials were the Caribinero’s. They didn’t disappoint with their delicious sweet flesh and lobster-bisque-esque flavour from the head – this is the only time you will see me sucking head! The one’s at Frith St were more succulent though as they were cooked on the plancha vs under the grill at Drury Lane.

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Pan Con Tomate £2.8 (each) – the tomato’s are presented in more of a fleshier form than that of Firth St or Adelaide St which is a refreshing change. Still awesome regardless with those sweet tomatoes dressed with salt, olive oil on top of that crisp bread.

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Prawn Tempura £4.6 (each) – this was a fun little dish, prawn perfectly fried sweet and all enhanced by the chilli jam served in a shot glass!

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Cuttle Fish Empanada £7.5. I loved this dish, the cuttle fish perfectly seasoned, umami and all encased in a rich flakey pastry. It came with sweet little pea shoots that were dressed really well.

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Crab Bun £8.80 (each). This little bun stole the show and my heart. It momentarily stopped me in my tracks as I was overwhelmed at how good it was. The crab filling was super rich, creamy and the poppy seed topped bun was the perfect foil to soak it all up. I could have rammed another one down easily. If you don’t order this, you WILL miss out.

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Choriza Tortilla £7.5. They are works of art in my opinion – prepared in their own dinky little frying pans, browned on the outside and oozing in the middle. A must have delicious staple. The aioli with little chunks of chorizo on top looks great but it was rich enough without it.

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Razor Clams £9.8 for 2. These are big boys and packed full of sweet flavour. Perfectly caramelised on the plancha, dressed with garlic, olive oil and parsley. So simple yet effective.

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Pork Belly Mojo Verde £12.60. It makes me so happy knowing that this divine swine features as a regular on the menu. The taste was unreal, the delicate interplay with the moist flesh, fat and crispy skin was conducive of perfectly timed cooking. The herby mojo verde helped provide balance to the rich sauce and not a combination I’ve had before – a perfect concoction.

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Pheasant Egg and Morchilla De Burgos on Toast £7.50. Crisp bread toped with Spanish blood pudding, broad beans and the perfectly cooked pheasant eggs flavoured with cumin. This is one of dishes that you must order – a case in point as to why Barrafina Drury Lane is so brilliant.

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Braised Ox Tongue £6.80. A melange of vegetables slow cooked to a rich sauce covering the tender tongue lightly coated in batter – what more do you need to know? Just order it! 

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Beetroot Salad with White Peach £6.50. This arrived at the end, but it made perfect sense in doing so, the beets were super sweet, slightly earthy seasoned and dressed really well. White peach flesh is less acidic than it’s yellow siblings and I couldn’t praise enough on how delicate and sweet they were.

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Tomato Fennel & Avocado Salad £7.5. This also arrived at the end but timed perfectly as not only was the it delicious and fresh of the dish acted as a plate cleanser too!

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The verdict;

The damage: Expect to pay £65-£80 per head with wine.
The good: Service is friendly, well informed,  produce smartly sourced and cooked beautifully. It’s a real stand out restaurant let alone tapas bar. It has set the bar really high again.
The bad: Some minor gripes were the running out of pimientos just after our we sat down, aioli was over-kill on the Bomba Ibericá’s and Tortilla’s. Oh and some may loathe the non-booking policy!
Rating: 5/5
www.barrafina.co.uk
43 Drury Lane, WC2B 5AJ

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