Barrafina is a cosy diner style tapas bar that serves small servings of Spanish food. It has several branches and the ones that I tried with my friends, Vivian and Dawn, is located in 26- 27 Dean St, SOHO, London. It is quite a small place with some decent seats at the bar but definitely not for big groups as they have no big enough table for more than 4 people. Due to the fact that we visited during the peak lunch times, we decided to sit outside the bar instead, and thus this review would exclude the dining atmosphere as we never really experienced it for the whole meal.
(this review is a Limited review—means I/we have not tried all of their choices and it will be updated each time I/we visit them)
*This review is not sponsored by Barrafina and we paid for our meals out of our own pocket)
The service we received was not the main service that was supposed to be served to us through the bar. However, the waitress and waiter were friendly and even recommended to us some dishes to try out as it was our first time visiting this restaurant. The food came at reasonable timing and pacing, and they also prepared two different types of water for us, though the latter took some time to come (perhaps due to the busy lunch period)
We ordered out food according to the staff’s recommendation and also to Vivian and Dawn’s friend’s recommendation (apparently she’s the VIP of the restaurant now). The first dish we ordered is a starter, Ham Croquetta , aka Cheese Fried Balls. They are deep fried, yet is not too oily to the mouth. Inside is pure melted cheese with some bits of bacon added in, ensuring that the taste is heavenly in the mouth, though you need to let it cool a bit. The only way I can describe this dish is that it embodies one of the best combination of hot melted cheese with the tastiness of bacon and crispiness of the deep-fried outer bread layering. This is a great starter to start and all of three of us were pretty satisfied.
Next is the Monkfish Tempura, which its name suggests, is fried monkfish fried in tempura style, though I need to emphasise that it’s quite different from the Japanese tempura style. Just think of it as crispy fried fish meat with some tasty sauce below it. Each dish comes with two sticks of the small amount of monkfish, which can be a bit expensive for the portion size. Nevertheless, we tried it and had to agree that it tasted great, especially with the sauce that accompanies it, which I could only deduce is a combination of cheese and some other herbs, but they complement well with the fried fish dish.
Then, we have the Classic Tortilla, where it looks like an egg fried dish pie that contains a mixture of meats and curry-like sauce inside. When we cut it open, I was surprised at how much liquid sauce it actually contained. One bite of it and my mouth burst with flavour, with the egg-potato flavoured outer layer creating a tasty texture to go along the meat sauce inside. It created an impact but is not one of the best I have tried, but you should still try it out yourself.
After this is the Carabinero prawn, which is shown at the top as the cover for this post, the red prawn contains lots of juice that really burst out as you bite it. With the sauce and also by pressing on the head, more flavourful liquid would flow out and we really took our time to enjoy this dish. Do note the portion is really small, and also it’s perhaps one of the most expensive dishes at £18.90++ for one small red prawn. I would say just get one instead to share as ordering more does not seem to be worth the paying price. Also, due to perhaps our Asian-ness that originated from Singapore and Malaysia, we ordered some slices of bread (I think it’s Dawn or Vivian’s idea) and used them to ‘scrap off’ the delicious sauce on the plate till they were clean. If you are like us and want to savour and to enjoy this dish fully, go order some slices of bread and ‘zhap’ them up!
Our 5th dish is Tuna Tartare, which is raw tuna chunks of meat accompanied with a weird green tangy sauce. The green sauce tastes weird to me but the girls seem to like it, so I guess it depends on yourself if you prefer that acquired flavour. With that said, I really like the raw tuna chunks, where eat bite created the taste of the sea in your mouth (as described Vivian) and the herbs that was mixed with it made the dishes stood out as one of the better ones I have tried in this restaurant. Definitely order this dish if you like raw fish that has its own unique flavour because of the herbs used on it. Its texture is more akin to that of the jellyfish, though.
Next is Solomillo Beef, which hilariously we mistook the previous tortilla as this dish. Vivian was quite confident of the meaning of the name that after the staff explained about our mistake, I just laughed for some time at our mistake and also at our insistence that we were eating the right stuff. Anyway, the beef tasted pretty decent to me, but to Vivian, she said it was perhaps one of the best she had ever eaten. It was cooked medium, and the girls gulped it down with the potatoes side dishes and the red chili pepper on top. The beef was pretty juicy and the flavour, though decent to me, was pretty impactful in its own right.
Finally, we had our DESSERT! And it was PEAR IN THE CARAMEL and SOAKED WITH WINE. OMG, this dessert rocks! One bite from the pear and boom, the slightly acidic taste surrounded the tongue, and the caramel flavour brought out some contrast in both texture and the taste. Its sweetness that is in cohesion with slight sourness is absolute heaven, now this is dessert done right! You must order this!
Categories: Food Review