To be honest, I’d never heard of Barrica before – a tapas restaurant on Goodge Street just a couple of doors down from Salt Yard. That was until I saw it in the ‘Bib Gourmand recommends’ section of the Michelin guide, so we thought we’d pop down with a group of friends to check it out.
On our Friday evening visit the place was heaving but luckily they take reservations which is a rare treat these days. We were seated at high stools which could have done with a cushion as I quickly suffered a numb bum. The lively and bustly atmosphere helped take our mind off our derriÃ¨res however.
We started with some oysters drizzled with hot paprika oil (Â£1.95 each) which were really lovely. The spicy oil did overpower the oysters completely, but as the flavour was so enjoyable it didn’t really matter.
The patatas bravas (Â£4.50) were crunchy but lacked seasoning. The accompanying ‘Ali Oli’ and bravas sauce provided plenty of flavour however. The tortilla (Â£3.95) had a lovely gooey centre which was divine. The croquetas de jamÃ³n (Â£2.75 for two) were every bit as gooey as you’d hope for.
The smoked duck breast on red currant buttered toast (Â£3.95) certainly delivered on flavour but the meat was a little grey and over cooked. The leg of the smoked pigeon (Â£8.50) was also over-done but the Pedro Ximinez sauce that it was drenched in was cracking.
The ham hock and mustard Empanadilla (Â£4.50) was like a mini Spanish pasty and it was bloody heavenly. The pastry casing was buttery and the filling, which had a lovely subtle heat to it, was full of flavour. The two highlights of the meal were the braised ox cheeks (Â£6.95) which were served with a buttery mash and more of that sauce from the pigeon and the IbÃ©rico pork shoulder (Â£7.95) which was so tender and meaty.
For dessert, the Torrijas (Â£4.50) which is a Spanish style French toast were incredible. Two thick wedges of sweet sticky toast – what’s not to like?! The baked yoghurt and Seville orange tart (Â£4.95) was surprisingly bland and tasteless though, which was a shame. The smoked oloroso, date and Marcona almond ice cream (Â£4.50) however was some of the tastiest ice cream I’ve eaten in a long time.
Barrica probably wasn’t the most exciting tapas restaurant I’ve ever been to (that award would almost certainly go to JosÃ© on Bermondsey Street) but on the whole the food was most enjoyable. The service was warm and friendly too which always helps. You could do a lot worse than have dinner here.