The secret to not having to queue at Barrafina is to get there just before six. (We got there at 7pm this time and were able to walk straight in although by 8pm it was packed and the situation may be different on a Friday or Saturday night). Having decided on previous occasions that the queue was too long it was good to finally be able to walk right in to a seat at the bar. Barrafina is a tiny place with a no bookings policy and it is fabulously popular, hence the issue with queuing. The decor is light and sleek with lots of white marble and mirrors. All the seating is positioned around what serves as a bar and open kitchen. The bonus of this is all the theatre of watching your meals prepared and also spotting dishes which look good and adding them to your list of orders.
We started with croquettes. When you cut them open cheese spilled out of them in delicious contrast to the crispy bread crumbed exteriors. Next we tried the coco which was a type of thin flat bread sprinkled with spinach and raisins and served as somewhat of an antidote to the cheesy croquettes. On our next visit we ordered both of these again and they were both brilliant. The croquettes are very rich and filling and a bargain to boot at £3 for two.
It is difficult to resist chorizo at a tapas bar, particularly when it is being grilled within a metres proximity of you, as is the case at Barrafina. The serving size was generous and not for the faint hearted or diet conscious, but it was very satisfying. To be honest, I could have ordered chorizo all night, as each plate which was being prepared in the open kitchen looked so delicious. However that would have been gluttonous and would not have left enough room for alcohol, which was really the primary purpose of our catch ups. So we restrained ourselves and ordered off the “specials” which essentially comprised the seafood options.
Details: 54 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4SL (Ph 0207 813 8016) Tube: Tottenham Court Road