Holiday!

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Having only been back in London for a few days, my holiday last week is already starting to feel like a distant memory. But luckily I can re-live it when writing about it here on the blog.

The week before Easter was much less fun. I was ill and still had a lot to do at work, so it was a real push. By Thursday evening I was so happy I was feeling a little bit better and could meet my friends who were in town for a light supper at Barrafina (a good start on my tapas journey!). Good Friday I packed and met a friend for lunch at Rail House Café and then early early on the Saturday I flew to lovely Seville!

It was lovely to feel the sun on my face, inhale the wonderful scent of orange blossoms and have eight unplanned days in front of me. I ate very well, walked lots and discovered what the city had to offer. I also slept lots, read books by the pool and just took it easy.

I spent the last two days in Málaga and continued my explorations. Now it’s back to normal; work, dinner parties and this weekend an old friend from Sweden is coming to visit.

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Eat brain? (Barrafina, Adelaide Street)

bar2Barrafina is one of my favourite tapas places in London, both the newer one in Covent Garden (and dangerously close to my office) and the original on Frith Street in Soho. They have also just opened another restaurant on Drury Lane which I can’t wait to try! I really like that the different restaurants sport different (although similar) menus, which makes it feel like two (or now three) free-standing restaurants and not a chain.

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Felicity and I had dinner here the other week and while waiting for our table we had some Txakoli (semi-sparkling wine from the Basque region which I love) and crab croquetas. When seated at the bar we noticed they had jamon croquetas as a special and we just couldn’t resist haveing some more croquetas. The crab ones are yummy but the jamon ones were perfection. Oh wow!
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Next up we had smoked salmon with white beans, fennel and a dilly dressing. It was nice but a little too mild in flavour.

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The asparagus with romesco sauce was wonderful though, I’ve had it here before and it has always been a great vegetable dish.

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The skewes with Iberico ham were also really nice, but I’ve had even better pork in Spain.

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We then decided to try the lamb’s brain (!). Once when I came here for lunch a lady dining on her own came here especially for the lamb’s brain and raved about it, so I’ve been dying to try it ever since. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised!

The texture is very soft so frying it until crisp on the outside was a smart move and the bold flavours with lots of acidity cuts through the richness very well, so this dish got top marks from me. But, the texture is still a little strange in the mouth (like very very soft sweetbreads but more jelly like) and it’s so rich I would not have been able to finish the dish on my own. But I would happily go back and share it with someone.

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After the savoury dishes we were quite content but you always have room for sorbet, right, so we had a scoop each. Felicity’s mixed berries sorbet was really nice and fruity, the perfect ending to a lovely meal.

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My peach sorbet was a bit too sweet and cloy. But apart from that our dinner was fantastic, just like the company.

Barrafina, Adeleide Street, London WC2N 4HZ

Barrafina Adeleide Street – revisited

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Since Barrafina opened its second restaurant a two minute walk from where I work I’ve been there for lunch a few times. Last time I went with two colleagues and we had a lot of lovely food. So much that it was rather laborious to walk back to the office after lunch.

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We started off with Jamon bellota and pan con tomato; actually one of the best pan con tomato I’ve had both in and outside of Spain. Perfect amount of garlic and the bread resists the wetness just enough.

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Then we had these lovely crab croquetas.

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And the tortilla with caramelized onions. So yum!

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And extremely crispy smoked cod fritters with tartar sauce.

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The fried artichokes was another favourite; so crispy and served with a lovely mayonnaise.

2015-01-20 12.50.57I can never resist the goat’s cheese stuffed courgette flowers with honey. Mmm…

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And these ribs were delicious!! Good combination of salty and sweet in the sauce and the meat just fell off the bones. We also shared a pork belly with crackling and white beans with morcilla that I forgot to photograph, it was nice but the ribs were just amazing!

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Although we were extremely full we couldn’t resist to share a plate of churros with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce. The perfect ending to a fabulous lunch!

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ

Lunch at Barrafina, Covent Garden

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Barrafina, one of London’s best tapas restaurants, have opened a second restaurant conveniently located two minutes away from my office and with more seating than in the original restaurant on Soho’s Frith Street.

The new restaurant also consists of a tapas bar with full view into the kitchen behind it so you interact with the chefs during your meal. I love that set up and the fact that this new restaurant is more spacious so if you’re waiting for a table you’re still comfortable.

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I went here with two colleagues and we all had some input on what to order so it is a real mix. The first dish to arrive were the crab croquetas which were very nice!

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The pan con tomato was also really nice and not too wet.

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But the star of the show was definitely one of the day’s specials; langoustines with tarragon butter. They were absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection!

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We also had the classix tortilla, which might not look very special but it is the best one I’ve ever had (including those in Spain). It was filled with plenty of caramelised onions and wonderfully creamy.

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Grilled asparagus with Romesco sauce and pecorino was another delight.

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As well as the incredibly simple yet perfectly executed salad of various tomatoes, fennel and avocado.

The food is simply prepared here but the produce is so good it would be wrong to serve it any other way!

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ

Barrafina, Soho

I feel incredibly lucky working where I do. The company is great but this time I was actually refering to where the offices are located; just by the embankment. That means I can wander into Soho, Covent Garden and even Mayfair on my lunch breaks. Not bad, huh?

I am also lucky in the sense that I work with a fellow foodie, Caroline. Once in a while we go out for a proper lunch together, we have a long list of eateries we want to go through.

Last week we went to Barrafina, Caroline’s choice, but I loved it too. It is a small tapas bar (with emphasis on bar) consisting of one curved bar with 23 seats. When we got there at half past twelve they were all taken to our disappointment, but the waiter asked if we wanted to sit outside where they had a few tables on the side walk. Of course we wanted to sit in the glorious sun and enjoy our meal. And as  there were heaters all along the wall we were definitely not cold.

We got a menu in the form of a placemat on the table as well as a small black board with the specials. We chose (with difficulty as everything seemed delicious) a few dishes from each menu. We also settled for sparkling water and we probably had a bottle each, it just kept on coming and our waiter really looked after us.

We received the cured ham we ordered, Lomo, first of all, and shortly afterwards the lovely Pan con Tomate arrived; toasted sourdough with tomato pulp.

Next to arrive was the razor clams with olive oil, garlic and parsley. Lovely!

After that the pancetta wrapped cuttle fish with ink arrived and it was absolutely beautiful. I think this was both our favourite.

Next was the Morcilla Iberica, a blood sausage served with piquillo peppers and fried quail’s egs. The sausage was nice enough on its own, but paired with the egg it was really good.

One of the items from the special’s board was this kale with garlic, chilli and olive oil. Wonderful although so very simple.

We enjoyed the whole meal but a few dishes (the cuttle fish and the kale) were better than others. Everything was really fresh and well cooked. I will definitely come here again, and please stop by if you happen to be near here.

Barrafina
54 Frith Street,
London,
W1D 4SL