Wednesday 16 December 2009

Barrica: Tapas in Fitzrovia, London

It was a scene straight from "Revenge of the Nerds". A Rather Unusual Chinaman and I entered Barrica for an impromptu "I'm tipsy, starving and need to soak up those cocktails" emergency feed on Friday night. We walked in, stepped 2 paces and turned to each other with respective glasses fogged over. Just too cool.

However, we managed to de-mist and recover our composure sufficiently to obtain a barside table in amongst the bustling, Barcelona-like commotion.

Setting up Barrica in its Goodge St locale is one brave move, given the terrific Fino and Salt Yard restaurants can be found within 10 paces. However, Barrica is a slightly more relaxed option than its nearby contemporaries (it is more "tapas bar" than "restaurant"), and - for me - while the food may not be of the same quality, it is more evocative of walking into to your average Barcelona tapas joint on a teeming Friday night.

It boasts chef James Knight, formerly of the much lauded Moro in Exmouth Market, as its head chef as well as a really lovely selection of wines (including over 20 sherries - hooray to that!). It's not a place for a tranquil meal (bah, who wants it?!), or perhaps even ultra fine dining quality or creative fare, but we tried a thorougly enjoyable selection of tapas in a fun and boisterous atmosphere.

I started with a glass of the easy drinking, smooth Tinto Fino ordered from our friendly, Spanish speaking waiter - I got the sense that all of the staff were Spanish.

The finely sliced Jamon Iberico Cebo (£6.50) was not the highest grade jamon on the menu (the pigs are fed on just a cereal feed diet, no acorns - so the taste is less nutty, with less marbling, than higher grades), but it was lovely and creamy. It was a fairly decent serving size for the price and quality.

Other dishes included the bright green and juicy Pimiento del Padron (peppers) and some absolutely delicious mushrooms with jamon and Fino sherry sauce were a highlight. This serving was also quite generous in size, compared to some of the other dishes at our table and those surrounding us.

The breaded pig's trotter with tomato and capers (below) was scrumptious and was wolfed down accordingly.

My very poor photography does not show the black pudding sausages for the delights that they were. Yes, they were ugly little runts but the taste was all fatty goodness. We both loved the flavour and somehow managed to share them between us without coming to blows.

The lowlight was probably the charcoal grilled aubergine, pepper and onions which were not bad, but not particularly great, and oilier than expected.

Service was friendly and helpful. And delivered with a Spanish accent to boot.

In all, I think the traditional and lively ambience here has the edge over the food. This is good, unpretentious, wine-accompanying fare, done Spanish style. For the prices (although only £20 per head for us), you should of course expect very reasonable quality food, which we obtained on the night. And it's certainly a fun place for a drink and a nibble or a widespread graze.

I knew I loved Barrica the moment I walked in (once the glasses had de-fogged) and it did not disappoint. I'll be back.

62 Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4NE

Barrica on Urbanspoon


  1. Did the pigs trotter have the bones in it or was it boned?

  2. Hi - it was boned. Unless I wolfed that down accidentally in the process. No, definitely boned.

  3. LOL - I love the foggy glasses story that is just hilarious. You guys are so cute, I wish I'd joined you for dinner!

  4. You may have heard I was there EXACTLY when you guys were. I though the croquetas were anemic. The pimentos de padron as well...definitely not juicy! Dry and tiny!

  5. Hi Catty - At least we got in those early cocktails!

    Hi Krista - Such a coincidence - pity we missed you. We didn't sample the croquetas and our pimentos were pretty standard, but I saw some of your tweets and sounds like we each had quite different experiences on the night!

  6. Ham looks the wrong colour to be iberico. Even iberico cebo should be much darker than that.

  7. According to all sources, and my senses at the time, it was iberico - I think the questionable colour comes down to the fact it was my first attempt at playing with the white balance and ISO on my camera! My first stray from the "point and shoot" method needs some work!


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