Barrafina Covent Garden: it's flantastic
|Barrafina Adelaide St: instant classic Bocadillo de Calamar|
The new space sits on the edge of Covent Garden up the road from Terroirs and across the street from Les Deux Salons. Happily it's also opposite the lovely pub The Harp (where they happen to serve real ales and bangin bangers - I mention it only for future reference since you're here for Spanish food). The area is now quite the destination rather than just somewhere you pay a cursory glance to as you leg it down to Charing Cross Station for that last train. You'd never be able to tell there was a semi-dodgy gay bar on the site for a number of years. Kudos to the designers for remodelling the space into something that feels airy, spacious and light, which is something that can't be said for the original Barrafina if you're wedged in next to the toilets with a hungry queue behind you.
|Bustling Barrafina Covent Garden: jamon and the seafood and vegetable specials|
|Barrafina Covent Garden: oysters ceviche|
|Barrafina Covent Garden: grilled asparagus with romesco sauce, grilled turbot, prawn and mushroom tortilla|
I think Barrafina create a better tortilla than most places in Spain and the versions at the Covent Garden location differ to those at Frith St. The tortilla with prawns, garlic and mushrooms (£7) gives the one with prawns and piquillo peppers at Frith St a run for its money. The perfect construction shows in the set egg shell while the interior oozes with flavour. One of the daily specials was turbot cooked in the Josper with a coating of fennel-spiked breadcrumbs. We ordered a quarter (£28) and were presented with meaty, juicy flesh which easily flaked from the bones. The crumbs and judicious seasoning lifted each mouthful.
Another special we picked was the thick-stemmed asparagus (£6.80) simply grilled in the Josper and served on a romesco sauce with plate-licking depth. The asparagus was topped with shavings of manchego cheese which melted deliciously over the dish.
|Barrafina Covent Garden: chicken wings with mojo picon sauce|
I had one of the most enjoyable flans on holiday in Menorca recently and I thought it would never be bettered, but Barrafina once again proved me wrong. This wobbly specimen (£6.50) will invoke groans of Meg Ryan proportions. The caramel was toffee-sticky with a sweet smokiness that I love. There was a mild coffee kick in there too. I'm likely to order this dessert every time I visit. I had a glass of semi sweet Alameda sherry (£5.50) with it and think it matched perfectly. Mr B went with some simple refreshing summer berries (£6.80).
|Barrafina Covent Garden: the best flan you'll eat in London|
You know what? I'm fed up to the eyeballs with London's restaurants churning out pimped up dude food or poor homages to Americana. Frankly you can shove your "guilty pleasures" up your wazoo. That's why Barrafina Covent Garden is a breath of fresh air. Yeah I know, it's not breaking new ground, but rather it builds on the foundations of what I thought was an already close to perfect experience. Everything from the food to the service to the buzzing atmosphere meshes together beautifully to make eating at the new Barrafina a joy. I want to be here every day.
|Barrafina Covent Garden: summer berries|