Just off Regent Street and already full of average restaurants, Heddon Street isn’t the first place you’d think of going for a great meal. A strange choice then for Nieves Barragan’s first standalone restaurant after leaving the Barrafina empire she helped create.
Once inside however it’s all rather lovely. We take a seat at the low counter overlooking the brightly tiled kitchen and sip on Estrella. It feels like a holiday.
The only downside to our spot is being directly in front a sink where a chef in blue gloves continuously washes his hands. I’m no hygiene inspector but as a customer it’s slightly off-putting to be in splashing distance.
But who cares, the food is great. Pan con tomate (£3.50) is sweet and drenched in very decent olive oil. The tomatoes are topped with a sliver of Cecina ham which is a lovely addition.
Prawn croquetas (£6) are that perfect blend of crisp and gooey. They contain chunks of prawn so big they are bargainous. Queso fresco brioche (£9.50) – that’s cheese on bread – comes with a generous grating of black truffle and a drizzle of honey. Refreshing. Light. Delicate.
‘Secreto 5 Jotas’ (£8.50), or the secret cut of pork, is a lovely little chunk of pig surrounded by a fiery mojo verde sauce. We share it but I long for eating this kind of food on my own.
Simpler dishes like baby gem, sun dried tomatoes, cheese & crispy onions (£6.50) and piquillo peppers, deep fried and stuffed with goats cheese (£3.50), are no less delicious.
For dessert, an impossibly light pastry tart encases a rhubarb and mascarpone mush (£8) which, although a little loose, is a wonderful explosion of flavour. A lone ball of goat’s cheese ice cream and liquorice sauce (£4) is so good we order another after the first bite. What a clever blend of flavours that is.
If you love Barrafina you’ll love Sabor, it’s practically the same thing; simple cooking of exquisite produce. The service is lively and friendly and the whole ‘watching the chefs’ thing makes it all the more fun. Maybe Heddon Street isn’t so bad after all…
Would we go back? Yes