54 Frith St, London W1D 4SL, United Kingdom near Leicester Square Tube Station
Hola! Barrafina it is as the next foodie stop in London. Crowned as restaurant of the year by timeout (I think), they have definitely attracted a huge beeline even before 6pm, when it could still be teatime for many. We joined the queue at 6 and were told very passionately by the waitress that there is a 2h wait.
If food and friends are the reasons why I extended the trip in UK, then I just have to grit my teeth and wait. It was lucky for the foodie buddy and I as it turned out to be a 1h20min wait before we were seated right in front of the head chef himself. Big hugs to the buddy who waited with me despite it being his third time here. Boisterous, bustling, these are the usual characteristics that you would expect from a Spanish restaurant but holding that spirit up for the entire lunch or night, I salute them. So much energy and passion flowing through every service crew’s body and even the ushering waitress, she uses all her mighty strength when she wipes every single dirt off the bench, ensuring that it is squeaky clean before it is set for the next pair of customers.
So amazingly plump these fried squids are that they had the perfect springy consistency while the light fluffy batter didn’t grease things up. It was good but perhaps needed a few speckles of salt more.
Gambas al Ajillo – A Catalonia cuisine that is flavoured up beautifully by the stir fried garlic and chilli, that yields the perfect sauce nicely assimilated into those crunchy prawns there. The strength of the fire was controlled so well that the shells turned edible for me, oh that crisp in the shells! £8.
Looking like a pillow or hand rest, the classic tortilla is really one of the must-order. It has always been the case for me at every Spanish restaurant I go to but out of so many in Singapore, only Binomio manages to impress. The one here tasted largely different as within that fluffy skin, you have that vibrant, viscous stew with intercalating slices of potato. So delicious! £6.50.
Ham Croquetas. Bitty ham smothered by the thick, savoury cream and finally all presented in that rotund crispy ball. Barrafina’s way of perfecting it? That thin crispy skin that makes the delectable fillings even more substantial. £4.50.
Pollock a la Romana – Two slices of lightly fried fresh, plump pollock cut through by that lovely capsaicinated sauce! £7.80.
Chicken Thigh with Romesco Sauce. Precised, spot on, that crispy skin was actually quite unbelievable and definitely on point! And that romesco sauce gave the tender meat a fuller, extra nutty body! £7.80.
Iberican Pork Fillet – Just fragrantly seared on the outside, the inner chunk was actually quite raw. This really isn’t beef we thought but that taste was completed together with the tangy dark sauce, and we grew to love it as we slice through that reddish tender meat. £10.80.
And so that’s the entire Spanish night we had! It is pricey and portions aren’t huge, but everything is on point which makes you feel the £30 you spent per person isn’t that bad actually!
With that crazy buddy that evening! Still the same despite not meeting up for almost a decade!
Verdict: A good – excellent restaurant. 3.9/5