Sunday, 21 August 2011

Barrafina lunch

JD's mate, the Dude was in town for a few days so we arranged to meet in town for a spot of Sunday lunch. Having not been back in a while, we decided to take a chance and see if we could get into Barrafina assuming that it should be relatively painless on a Sunday afternoon. How wrong were we.......the resto was due to open at 1pm, we arrived at 12:45pm only to find a queue formed on the pavement in front of a closed door??? Worse still, once the door opened and we were edging closer to the front, there was still no sign of the Dude - when we enquired, we were told that we could not hold seats so had to sit tight and take a chance that the Dude would turn up before another punter took the space. Luckily, he arrived a few minutes later at which point, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. This is a prime example of why dining in London has lost its appeal....the sheer hassle!

I have eaten at Barrafina a number of times but they have mostly pre-dated this blog.....I can still remember the first couple times we were there (back in 2007?) and what great meals we had so expectations were high. Things have changed a little and am not sure if I like them. The resto used to have a really nice buzz but the open kitchen was always calm and efficient, on this particular occasion, all we could hear was the head chef shouting out orders which was a little jarring since we were sitting right in front of him. Unlike some of the comments on other websites, I thought the service was pretty good and friendly and did not encounter any of the "we think we are better than our customers" vibe?

The food was a mixed bunch - mostly OK, but in total did not reach the same heights as back in the day. JD and I were really disappointed to see that one of our fav dishes, lamb chops has now been replaced by rump of lamb. It suggests that they're possibly cutting back on the quality of ingredients which is a bit of a shame.....was also shocked that the croquetas portion has now been shrunk from 4 to 2 - it just feels like that they are sort of taking the piss now their reputation is so resolute. I guess the main thing was that the Dude really enjoyed his lunch (post-lunch gelato at Gelupo went down a treat too!) which was cool - it was good to catch up and hopefully, it won't be another years before we see him again!

 Ham croquetas - I remember when they used to be 4 for £4.00, at the time, I was balking over the fact that each mouthful was costing me a squid! Well, they are now 2 for £3.50.....and to add insult to injury, ours were stone cold in the middle!

 Pan con tomate - this was excellent.

 Cold meat platter - not bad, but I think the one at Brindisa might be better?

 Classic tortilla - the Dude was very impressed with this!

 One of the daily specials - razor clams a a la plancha with garlic and parsley, very nice but there was grit in the clams.

 One of my favourite Barrafina dishes, chips with brava sauce - it has lost a bit of its yumminess sadly.

 Tuna tartare - my least favourite dish and did not appreciate the "Asian" flavours, someone should tell them that sesame oil and soy sauce are STRONG flavours and should be used with some caution??

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