Barrafina in Soho is one of those places I'd been to several times and then hadn't been for a good few years. It's still considered one of, if not THE BEST places to go to in London for tapas. Even today still has people queuing, sometimes for a good hour, from 12pm till late evening.
As Mr D isn't a lover of Tapas, I jumped at the chance of seeing my cousin, Mr H whom is a fan. Barrafina was one of our top choices and he arrived around 11:50am on a Friday, and was already third in line (they open at twelve). By the time I arrived at 12pm a small snake was forming. Tapas gets such a mixed reputation amongst my friends for varying reasons, many exclaiming being 'too selfish to share' - their words not mine! Personally, I love it for the sharing aspect, the talking point the food gets around the table and also as I never know what I want. So, several mouthfuls of different dishes suits me perfectly. In this case, and also most other times I'm with Mr H, I left it to my cuz to order for us both - he's pretty good at that!
The atmosphere at first opening is one of excitement and controlled chaos, staff are prepping, serving, seating and running along the bar style dining room tending to diners in arrival order - first come, first served. Drinks were taken approximately 15mins after being seated and the specials were read out - most are the catch of the day and some vegetable sides...
From the specials we had:
Baby artichokes with alioli (£6.80) - lightly fried to gain a crisp coating. Dipped in the alioli this was divine! N.B. not a diet dish as the alioli was eaten on its own spoon by spoon once the artichokes had vanished, it was so good!
Razor Clams (£7.80) - garlic rich, ever so slightly over cooked but still lovely.
The absolute highlight of all the dishes Scorpion fish with broccoli and squid ink (£23.80). The squid ink sauce was like no other we had tasted.. the deepest of blacks, sticky, salty, squiddy and a little bit mind blowing we spooned it up like soup. The fish was cooked perfectly with a deliciously crisp skin. We tucked in too fast to get a full photo worthy shot however these pics still look good enough to eat I'd say...
Off the menu we chose:
Octopus with capers, this was incredibly tender and more-ish another of the meals highlights
chickpeas, spinach and bacon delicious for a non protein rich dish.
Jamon senorio de Montanera, there is literally nothing I like more than a huge plate of cold posh ham...
Barrafina totally captured my heart, even after all these years. I loved the food, the buzzy bar style dining atmosphere and that I felt as if I had been transported to Spain. The staff are so enthusiastic and obviously love working there and the produce they serve. The fish in particular, was some of the freshest I have ever tasted. Lunch for the two of us was over £100 so not your average 'pop in' place...
It's a wonderful date place and I can only ever expect it to be even better at night.
Girls and boys, get queuing!! Friends, If you ever need a Barrafina buddy, I'm your girl!
Address: 54 Frith St, London W1D 4SL
Phone:020 7813 8016