A good friend of mine happened to be in town last week and so we arranged to meet at Barrafina, one of his favourite restaurants in London and one that I’d been meaning to try. We met there at noon on a Saturday and were the second and third people to grab seats at the bar. The place filled up within half an hour so it seems the best thing to do is to get there when it just opens (they don’t take bookings).

When I saw ham croquetas on the menu, I knew I had to have them! We ordered those while still perusing the menu. They were extremely creamy inside and crisp on the outside and exactly how I like my croquetas!

Ham Croquetas

Inside a Croqueta

From the daily specials, we ordered the grilled razor clams with olive oil, garlic and parsley. These were probably cooked a la plancha and were not at all rubbery but tender and so flavourful.

Grilled Razor Clams

My friend recommended the grilled lamb cutlets from the regular menu and so they went into our order. Very soft and we got stuck in with our fingers here.

Grilled Lamb Cutlets

Also from the specials was the cavolo nero, braised with olive oil and garlic. Beautiful! The cavolo nero still had a bite but was tender and had toasted patches that were wonderful. I just bought some cavolo nero at my farmers’ market to try replicating it this week.

Braised Cavolo Nero

Another special – this time it was grilled squid, stuffed with tomato and chorizo. Again, this dish was faultless.

Grilled Squid Stuffed with Chorizo and Tomato

We were starting to get full at this point and so focused our attention on desserts! I chose the chocolate tart while my friend ordered the fig salad with creme chantilly and toasted sliced almonds.

Chocolate Tart

Fig Salad with Toasted Almonds

Both were truly delicious. There was a bit of cream alongside my chocolate tart, which was rich and dense and a little of eating like eating dark chocolate ganache in a thin pastry shell. As for my friend’s fig salad, it was fresh ripe figs with a huge mound of creme chantilly (I originally mistook it for ice cream). I could have eaten a huge bowlful of this – the almonds and caramel sauce over top made it perfect.

It seems strange that we didn’t order any of their sliced jamon but though they had a leg prominently displayed on the counter, no one was having any. It was hot food all the way for everyone. Their tortillas looked fantastic too – little individual ones with soft innards – I’ll definitely try one next time.

However, it wasn’t a cheap lunch. For all the food, one glass of wine and all the tap water we could drink, it was £50 for the two of us. However, even with the limited seating, we never once felt rushed and our waitress was happy for us to order one or two tapas at a time. There’s a small counter along the wall where you can wait with a drink and a small bite for a seat – but as I noticed above, it’s probably easiest if you show up when they just open. I can’t wait to return (after I’ve saved up a bit)!

54 Frith Street

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