Tbecha Roasted Tomatoes
A month ago I went to see Romeo and Juliet at the theatre with Sarah, Sophie, and Lily. We needed somewhere to dine beforehand so we decided to give The Barbary a try. I'm a huge fan of The Palomar, the small plates, middle eastern inspired food is right up my street and makes a delightful change from the usual Soho restaurants. When I found out The Palomar was opening a sister restaurant, The Barbary, I knew I had to give it a try.
The restaurant doesn't take reservations but when we turned up at midday on a Saturday we were able to get a seat easily. By 12:30 the place was rammed. The restaurant is tiny (22 covers), the seats are lined up along an industrial bar that circles the open kitchen. The experience of dining here is akin to a theatre of food as you watch the chefs get to work over the carefully presented cuisine. I loved the spectacle as it makes eating out feel all the more special. But don't be fooled into thinking this is a gimmick because the food speaks volumes on its own.
Cauliflower Jaffa Style
Cumin & Chilli Glazed Beetroot
We shared an assortment of small plates which act like dips for the incredible delicious homemade Naan e Barbari and Jerusalem Bagel. The naan is thin and crispy, covered in oil and salt whilst the bagel is fluffy and ever so slightly chewy. Both breads work exceedingly well with all the dips.
The Baba Ghanoush was creamy and perfectly smoked whilst the Cumin & Chilli Glazed Beetroot was fresh and fruity. The Tbecha Roasted Tomatoes had a deeply intense flavour and the Msabacha Chickpeas were incredibly moorish. I loved every single plate we ordered but the problem of sharing these tiny starters between four people means you don't get to enjoy that much of them.
Pata Negra Neck
For our main course we shared a few different options. The octopus was tender, almost bordering on mushy but it still tasted wonderful. The pork neck stole the show for me, cooked perfectly pink it had a nice amount of char and the intense, fruity reduction was divine. The veal schnitzel was cooked exceptionally well but compared to everything else it just wasn't that exciting.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Despite sharing the majority of the menu I'm usually a fan of solo deserting because I'm fussy and don't like many sweet things. I had the strawberry ice cream which sounds boring but don't be fooled by the name. This tasted absolutely incredible. You could tell this was made from fresh strawberries and the honey and almonds helped elevate this to a rather exciting dish.
Our meal at The Barbary was wonderful but I fear it is on the expensive side considering the portion sizes. Lily had the halloumi which I personally think is exceedingly expensive considering it was £8 for one slice. I loved our meal and I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant but I felt hungry two hours which isn't great after spending £30 on lunch. I think you would need to spend at least £40 per person to feel particularly full and that's without mentioning drinks. With this in mind, The Barbary goes on my special occasion list of restaurants and whilst I would love to return it's definitely not the sort of place I would pop into for a casual Friday night dinner out with Steve. I understand that the quality of the food and attentiveness of the staff come at a price, which I was happy to pay during my visit, I just don't think it's the sort of place I would visit on an off chance.
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