Monday, 11 November 2013

London Life: Barrica Tapas Bar

When you walk the streets of London, you are able to eat whatever you want. The streets are lined with Japanese sushi bars, Italian delis, French patisseries and Moroccan restaurants. You can sample the tastes of the world without even boarding a plane. One of my favourite lifestyle bloggers, The Londoner, perfectly demonstrates the wealth of taste at your fingertips – and I highly recommend you check out her reviews!

Whenever I am in the capital I find it hard to budget when it comes to food; I would happily spend my cash on pancakes for brunch or cute boutique cupcakes, but can barely face spending the same amount on shoes (even if mine have holes in them!). I find, therefore, that I really have to restrain myself! However, very occasionally I will indulge in something a little different – especially if the company is right.

I recently blogged about my visit to the National History Museum with my boyfriend and mentioned that we went out for a last minute dinner afterwards. Well, the time has come to write up a little review of our meal, and I think you’re in for a treat!

Having been to Barcelona together a few years ago, we are both fans of Spanish food; so when we saw Barrica Tapas Bar advertised on the Time Out app, we jumped at the opportunity and booked a table with just enough time to get the tube there.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a warm restaurant, full with diners and drinkers alike. We were seated right by the entrance on a high table by an incredibly friendly waitress, and had plenty of time to peruse the menu. I was dubious about being sat directly by the door – it was a chilly night, and I have had experiences of suffering with a cold draft in similar situations at other restaurants. However, with the restaurant full, there were few people coming and going, and I never once had a problem with where we were sitting.

A sneaky photo of inside Barrica - in all its cosy glory.
Barrica is not the sort of place to go if you do not like busy restaurants. It is a very Spanish experience, with a busy bar area and plenty of tables. The dining experience in Barcelona was the same, with staff tearing around the restaurant with small dishes of meats and hot treats and regulars laughing loudly on stools and chairs. It is not unpleasant, however, but rather cosy and enjoyable. We did worry that the service might be slow, and though we did have to wait to place our first drinks order, we appreciated the time to browse the delicious menu and take in the atmosphere. We didn’t feel neglected at all, which was really wonderful.

I am no wine expert, but the red wine we had was extremely delicious. Unfortunately, I cannot remember which we ordered, but it was not overpriced and went very well with the food! The waitress who served us was friendly, talkative and not too overbearing; we felt like regulars.
The food was delicious. We mixed some old favourites with a few new flavours, and after it was suggested that we order three tapas dishes each, we went for the following;

Tortilla de Patata (Traditional Spanish Omelette)
Patatas Bravas y Alioli (Bravas Potatoes & Aioli)
Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)

Chorizo Extra Bellota (Pork Sausage)
Tostado de Pato Ahumado con Mantequilla de  Grosellas (Smoked Duck Breast on Red Currant Buttered Toast)

We also ordered a delicious pulled meat burger – but unfortunately that is no longer on the online menu, and my memory is terrible…

It was a tough choice – the menu is crammed full of delicious tapas options. I have to admit, I nearly always opt for the vegetarian option. Present me with anything involving goat’s cheese, feta, olives, artichokes and mushrooms and I’ll have it on my plate in a heartbeat. So when it came to this menu, I didn’t want to just go for what I knew. Luckily, my boyfriend chose the burger and the duck which I would never have gone for – and I was glad he did!

We had eaten most of our food by the time I remembered to take a photo - it was that good!
In typical tapas style, each dish was delivered to our table when they were ready. It wasn’t too long to wait, but it was enough time to try each item and really relish it. Before we knew it, we had six dishes on our tiny table clamouring for space in the heady atmosphere. Each dish was amazing, I have to say it. I ate both croquettes since my boyfriend wasn’t a fan (I do love rich, cheesy food!) and I tasted the meat in the burger but left him with the rest. I was tentative about the duck as, aside from a few pancakes at my local Chinese restaurant, I’d never had it – but it was soft, tender, rich and delicious. One piece each was more than enough! The tortilla was divine for something so simple, and the chorizo was up to our high standards. Although the patatas bravas weren’t quite like the ones we both tired on a boat in Barcelona (we both agreed those were the best we’d ever had) they were coated in sauce and crispy on the edges – and piping hot!

We couldn’t quite manage dessert – and decided just to have one more glass of wine (or port) to round of the evening – it was technically a celebration, so we deserved that extra drink! Once we’d paid our bill, we set out to find the nearest tube station and headed home for some ice cream before bed.

The verdict? We loved it. No, it wasn’t quite bruschetta and olives on a boat in the docks of Barcelona – but I can imagine, on the streets of London on a hot summer’s night, it is the perfect place to enjoy authentic Spanish tapas, wine and atmosphere with friends, family, or the one you love.


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