Barrafina is my favourite Tapas restaurant in London. It has steep competition as Tapas has become so “hip” it’s in danger of people rejecting it for being too mainstream – there’s no crowd more fickle than foodies. Salt Yard and its sister restaurant Ember Yard are both fantastic; Jose (and Pizarro) is delicious, Moro has really interesting North African influences; Fino is like Barrafina but you can book (and the identical menu is slightly less well cooked). However, for me, Barrafina has the best food and the best atmosphere. I don’t mind waiting (and you will wait) because I can have some beautiful oloroso or palo cortado sherry and eat salty, delicious iberico ham croquettas in the queue. Barrafina has a wonderful vibe, it feels like everyone there loves food, they love talking about food, they love eating it and they love cooking it. You feel special just for sitting down. And, like all tapas restauarants, they have to turn out a huge number of dishes in a very short time and that takes preparation, the kind of preparation you can use in your own kitchens.
I am an unreserved fan of the restaurant Ceviche on Frith Street in SoHo, London. I love pretty much everything about it – the huge jars of flavoured pisco (my favourite is the figs and vanilla), their amazingly smooth pisco sours and of course the food, oh the food. They cook peruvian food and they cook it very well. For those who haven’t had peruvian food before, it’s full of strong flavours – unsurprisingly the menu is full of ceviche – lots of fresh, raw seafood kissed by citrus juices, chilli and sugar until they go opaque and tender and utterly moreish. However, ceviche isn’t just seafood and one of the dishes caught my eye (and my tastebuds) as something which exemplifies the idea of “how did they get that dish onto the plate within 5 minutes of me ordering it” – the dish in question… Pork belly with confit figs, crackling, sweet potato puree and a sticky glaze made with pisco and lime juice Continue reading