The Barrafina in Greek street has been open for a number of years and recently got its Michelin star. A trend of Stars being given to less formal restaurants. Seemingly the success of this has allowed them to open a smaller and even more informal restaurant near Covent Garden, London.
Set on a corner on Adelaide street, with no restaurants around it, opposite a couple of old pubs, backed by the thinnest alleyway in all of London (I think the definition of alleyway is very specific, as it’s not that thin!) A bar bends rounds the open kitchen of this place with tall fixed stools following the bar all the way round. A waiter – maybe a host even – with a thick and loud and friendly Spanish accent beckons us in to sit anywhere we choose. The fixed seating around the kitchen means that this is only really good for one or two people; anymore and you’ll be unable to have an easy conversation in the group.
The stools are quite close together making this definitely a social dining experience. Many a times I found myself staring as people next to us had something different (and great looking) that I wanted to try. Seeing the couple next to you joyfully digging into pigs ears that you were too much of a whimp to order is a fun sight to see.
This is a loud restaurant, the open kitchen, the close seating, the popularity of the place mean that you’ll be talking at full volume most of the time. Not necessarily an issue for me, as I adore casual places with excellent food, but does make this less of a place for a romantic dinner for two.
The menus are printed on paper place mats and the excellent hosts are more than happy to draw over them to help make recommendations. We went for everything they said was their best, even though the tortilla wasn’t as good as the one the hosts mum makes back at home!
Using Vivino as the perfect companion to help me choose the wines (I’ll post a separate review of the app as its a great). I won’t say how many of these we tried, but sufficed to say that I can’t remember a bad one in there.
Anything that you order in a carafe comes from a magnum of that wine. Magnums always seem so extravagant for the likes of me, so seeing these opened for me just adds to the show of the supremely busy but immaculate open kitchen.
The food here is just amazing though. The amount of flavour that they cram into the tapas sized dishes is just awesome. Easily worth a visit or two!