I was slightly underwhelmed by my visit to the original Barrafina in Soho (which recently received a Michelin star) but as their new one on Adelaide Street in Covent Garden has had such glowing praise I thought I’d check it out.
Sticking with the stools at a counter theme this one is much bigger meaning the wait isn’t quite as long (forty minutes for two of us at 7:30 on a Wednesday). You don’t have to queue in a line either you just put your name down and have a drink round the edge which is good.
We started with the crab croquetas (£2.50 for two) which were first class; the delicate sweetness from the crab filling along with the crisp breadcrumb coating was just divine.
A plate of Jamón de belotta 5 Jotas (£18.50) was perhaps not worthy of the hefty price tag but the quality of the pork was most clearly of a high standard and the flavour in the fat was epic.
The pan con tomate (£2.80) which was basically tomato topped bread was such a simple yet wonderful dish; I could eat plates of that alone. Suckling pig’s ears (£6.50) were served whole and tasted so good that they even give Duck and Waffle a run for their money (they’ll always be my favourite though!).
Papas aliñadas (£6.80) was one of the weaker dishes as it lacked seasoning. Waxy potatoes and strips of slightly overcooked tuna with a dollop of aioli didn’t really do it for me. The morcilla and qiquillo pepper tortilla (£6.80) wasn’t much better as there was a severe lack of morcilla (blood pudding).
A humungous wait then ensued for the rest of our dishes which was a tad annoying as there was no explanation. It was worth the wait for the Iberian pork ribs (£8.80) however as they were seriously tender. The meat fell off the tiny bones and although it all looked a mess, the flavour was brilliant.
The suckling pig (£12.80) had a really impressive layer of thin crackling on top but there seemed to be more bone and cartilage than meat which was a shame.
Things ended on a high with the milk fed lamb’s kidneys (£8.50). They were served atop a mini grill with coals underneath meaning every time the fat dripped down (and there was masses of fat) it would create a waft of smoke which really flavoured the kidneys. You really should order these as they’re the best thing I’ve eaten in ages.
I enjoyed my experience far more than the other Barrafina but even still it wasn’t consistently brilliant. Long gaps between dishes and then empty plates being left with us for far too long made us feel like the whole experience could be better. It ain’t cheap either. But some of that food is astoundingly good.