Saturday, 8 June 2013


I've been hearing a lot about Barrafina recently so when I happened to find myself on Frith Street one Sunday I was determined to try it out. On this particular Sunday I was with oldest friend Sophinna (oldest not in age but in length-of-time-knowing and who would kill me if she wasn't mentioned) - it was one of those deceptively cold numbers which in classic British style we chose to ignore and opted to sit outside under a well-placed heater.

I realised when we found it that I must have been unwittingly walking past Barrafina quite often but had somehow never been inclined to go in. Perhaps it was the stooled interior – a lot of filled stools does tend to put me off at first sight - I'm only little and it's tough to get up on those things. Plus, they're not exactly comfortable.

Anyway, the first thing to happen upon being seated outside was being told to move our table and chairs closer to the restaurant window because the council weren’t keen on the tables being there. Good.  Surely don't put them there!? Following that we were told that the restaurant was too busy so they could only serve para picar (or 'nibbles' for the uninitiated) for the next 30 minutes. Fine. But from then on, every time we wanted to order, the waiter would dismissively shout "one minute!" or "one second!" and then scurry inside. It became almost hurtful when he gave the table next to us the specials menu, completely failing to acknowledge us or our pleas.

The menu is a little bit weird. Not the food they're selling, just the language -  it was neither consistently in Spanish nor English. Perhaps written by an Englishman who knew a few Spanish words and thought that would do? I'm not sure it makes much difference... it's just rather peculiar!

Service and menu writing aside, the food when it finally came was DELICIOUS. The best croquettes I've ever had in this town. My mouth is salivating at the mere memory of those little morsels. The tortilla alone is worth returning for - so yolky and well seasoned. Everything we ordered - which was a lot (Sophinna interprets sharing plates as an opportunity to order as much as she possibly can) was amazing. It was authentic and the kind of food that really makes you smile. 

I must admit we did order too much... I wasn't convinced we'd make it through those final plates and it was only on the merit of everything that had come before that greed won out.
crazily creamy croquetas

"pan con tomate", we also had "bread with alioli" (see what I mean about the menu?)
chorizo, always a winner

these prawns were flavour sensations

gooey tortilla - so cool you get your own freshly made little number

more goo

asparagus a joy to see on any menu when the season arrives, and it has!!

beef - rich, a bit overwhelming after all the food we'd devoured

grilled quail with alioli

For a moment with the sun shining down on us in our puffer jackets we could almost have been in Spain. Then the bill came. Not Spanish prices, but the sad fact is that we were not in Spain and if you consider that Bar Italia across the road charges £7.50 for a take-away panino, a £90 bill for two people to eat glutinously was not unpredictable. Definitely worth a visit if you're up for splashing a bit of cash and aren't in a hurry.

Barrafina on Urbanspoon

54 Frith Street
W1D  4SL


  1. Ahhh I love barrafina (THAT QUAIL). If you can be bothered you should really queue up for the bar stools, it's a great atmosphere there.