Barnyard, the second restaurant of Ollie Dabbous, is a much more light hearted dining experience when compared with his first restaurant, appropriately named Dabbous which is also located in Fitzrovia just around the corner on Whitfield St. The inspiration for the food at Barnyard is English / American inspired under the guise of “Farmhouse Style”.
The small site still manages to pack a punch right from street level. What the shop front lacks in signage it makes up for in white picket fencing which runs around the perimeter of the small outside area, aka, the holding pen.
Once inside the restaurant we were ‘meeted and greeted’ by a suitably dressed lumberjack type. The atmosphere was dense and moody as all walls are clad heavily either with rusted corrugated metal sheets, dark distressed timber or old pressed tin panels painted roughly in a creamy white.
The bar takes center stage on the lower level of the restaurant with some poseur height tables positioned by the window. These also take on an industrial character, constructed from metal key clamp components and thick reclaimed oak. We were seated past the bar and up some stairs that wrap around a giant tree (which takes up precious floor space but does create quite a unique feature to the restaurant) to the mezzanine level, which had a very intimate feel.
A long run of bench seating sits in front of the balustrade which coincidently is also constructed of…. Yes, you've guessed it - white picket fencing! This recurring design feature gives the restaurant a thematic tone but definitely plays on the lighthearted, fun nature of the food on offer.
Reclaimed oil drums have been reimagined as dining chairs; again, a fun playful idea, however slightly cumbersome for the limited floor space on offer at the mezzanine level.
There is lots of attention to detail throughout the scheme, with the reclaimed timber paneling creating a relief effect which varies in thicknesses and interesting reclaimed light fittings that vary within each zone, as well as oval mirrors again framed in heavy reclaimed oak.
The space is dressed with reference to the style of food, with enamel tin buckets filled with hay and corn as well as all the tableware in the very trendy Falcon Enamelware platters that seem to be so popular these days.
Overall the space reflects the tone of the food; easy, laid back and lighthearted. This is a great space to dine with friends as its fun attitude to food and atmosphere provide an unusual back drop to a casual dining experience.