Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Barrafina, 8th October
I am not going to write anything bad about Barrafina. There is nothing bad to say about Barrafina. General consensus is that the food at Barrafina is good and general consensus is right. But how good? Well, for me, just pleasantly good, not knock-your-socks-off good. I enjoyed everything I ate and the meal itself was a very pleasurable experience. Even the hour’s wait for a table passed by quite quickly as we started on a bottle of red and got some padron peppers and bread to keep us company. For the first time ever I think I actually found a spicy one!
The meal was on Stephen and he was feeling lavish so we ordered quite a lot. It was very hard to choose between the ‘classics’ that are on the menu all the time and the specials of the night so we did a bit of both. We couldn’t miss out on the ham croquetas or one of the tortillas – prawn and piquillo pepper. I thought the tortilla was spot on – just the right squishy consistency in the middle but not too undercooked for my liking. The croquetas were good but I have to say I prefer the ones Stephen has made at home himself!
Milk-fed lamb belly was a no-brainer and of course if you’re going to eat in a Spanish place, you have to have chorizo (served with potatoes and watercress). Stephen had fried red mullet all to himself and I shared the arroz negro with monkfish with him, and first to come out was the meat platter we ordered. This was very nice but we immediately had food envy when we saw someone else’s choice of, I think, thin slices of lomo. Perhaps going for one specific type of cured meat is the way forward.
I can’t comment on the red mullet, although the saffron sauce it came with was a delight. The arroz negro was an incredibly deep-flavoured dish – too deeply flavoured for the monkfish in fact I think – it rather got lost amongst all that squid ink. A little more of it wouldn't have gone amiss either.
The lamb – tender and one of those dishes you wish you hadn’t shared. Although by this time I was pretty stuffed so didn’t mind so much. While I enjoyed the chorizo, I was a little underwhelmed by this dish and the way it was presented - it was a tad boring and not the most enjoyable chorizo I've ever had.
We still, for some reason, decided to get a dessert (shared of course) which was a chocolate tart with an sort of dry, but intensely chocolatey texture. Completely unnecessary but very good.
It was a really enjoyable meal. And the food was all very decent – more than decent but I just don’t know if I can get that excited about classic Spanish tapas.