We visited the latest Barrafina opening in London.
The Harts Group has opened Barrafina along with Quo Vadis wine bar and Taqueria el pastor, investing in the fashionable place in the capital and offering new concepts. This new restaurant is located a few steps from King’s Cross station, next to the canal in London’s new playground, Coal Drops Yard. Situated in a refurbished Victorian warehouse, designed by Heatherwick Studios, the ‘yard’ successfully mixes trending stores with emerging projects, cafes, bars and restaurants.
We are greeted by an 8-meter-long terrazzo counter and open kitchen, tantalising smells wafting towards us. It is in this moment that we grasp the concept of the Spanish name, “Barra”, which translates to counter, and “Fina” meaning delicate and of good quality. There is no more mystery.
The feeling that we are in Spain floods in while we wait to be seated. We walk past diners drinking beer from typical Spanish beer taps, nibbling ham croquettes on tables with traditional Spanish napkin holders. The calm is broken by the waiters and chefs’ noisy directions and fast movements, demonstrating the true idiosyncrasy of Spanish culture.
We are seated in the counter that surrounds the stainless-steel kitchen, sitting so close that we feel almost a member of the Barrafina team. The head chef approaches us and explains that apart from the classic dishes, they create a special daily menu with the products they receive fresh from the market. When they run out, they run out, so we recommend that when visiting, go early to fully sample their menu.
The menu and portion sizes are designed to share multiple dishes. We order the squid sandwich stuffed with butifarra (Catalan sausages), black squid rice, tortilla de patata and Iberian pork with almond cream. Everything is cooked with high quality products in front of us, total transparency and demonstration of skill.
A Barra in Spain is the meeting point between friends and family, it is the most informal and pleasant place to share a beer and enjoy Spanish cuisine. At Barrafina, they have interestingly taken this everyday concept and adapted it to a different environment that demands another type of quality, offering something different. That is why Spanish cuisine continues to grow, thanks to these types of offers.