Barrafina, Soho


What else can be said about Barrafina except for this: make haste and go there – it serves probably the best tapas I have ever eaten, even better than in Spain itself. You can’t book, but don’t fear the queues – just order a sherry and some nibbles while you wait, and the charming Spanish staff will sit you down at the marble countertop bar for the feast of your life…

Please note – the below wasn’t consumed in one sitting… I would have had to have been winched out of the restaurant, carried out Tudor-style in some kind of sedan chair!

Pan con tomate: garlicky, fresh, crispy and soft, drizzled generously with grassy olive oil – sensational:


Pimientos de Padron: one in every 20 is said to be hotter than Hades, but these little fellows were lovely and mellow:


Cured meats: melt-in-the-mouth:


Sardines: I don’t normally like sardines in this country because they’re never fresh enough, but there was no problem here:


Chipirones (baby fried squid): crsipy and very moreish, a bit like squid popcorn:


Chorizo with potatoes: smoky intense and delicious sausage offset beautifully by the creamy flavour of the potatoes:


Coca with spinach, raisins and pine nuts: beautifully savoury with flavours of nutmeg and bechamel sauce underneath the spinach – much more impressive than you’d imagine:


Ham and cheese croquettes: phwoarrrrrr! Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside – nutmeg and salty nuggets of bacon. Yum!

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Clams (left) and fried potatoes with aioli and salsa brava: gorgeous garlicky plump clams, and the chips were a revalation because they’d been sprinkled with crushed garlic, fresh thyme and rock salt.


Santiago (almond) tart: flaky buttery pastry, gorgeous buttery almond top. Not really suitable for sharing.


Pedro Ximinez Hidalgo sherry: like drinking liquid Christmas pudding – intense!


54 Frith Street
Soho, London



  1. I've probably eaten about 200 pimientos de padron in my life and I have never had one that was as hot as hades. This is almost certainly a story made up by the tapas marketing board in order to justify the high price for a nice but simple dish.


  2. Yes I agree – it must be marketing bullsh*t! I wonder if I should try to grow some myself because I do like to eat them by the handful, which is sooo expensive…


  3. Just a little mistake, croquetas are made of bechamel sauce,there is no cheese inside and no bacon at all,they use spanish ham,(jamón).


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