Back at Barrafina

It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned Barrafina and it won’t be the last.

Because I looooooove tapas and Barrafina is quite simply the best tapas restaurant in London.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

The only problem?

How good Barrafina is is London’s worst kept secret.

And of course, there’s no reservations, which means you will have to queue.

Yes, even if it’s late and even on Sundays.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

But worry not, for there’s a small selection of nibbles to eat while you wait – including Barrafina’s fantastic croquetas.

That time around, they were squid croquetas, with ink, little pieces of cuttlefish and a potent-but-sublime spicy aioli on top.

100% the way to keep little hangry me happy!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Nibbles, drinks and good company are a great combination to make time fly by.

Before you know it, you’ll be led to your recently-vacated seats…

… for yet more croquetas!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

This time, ham croquetas.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Just as gorgeous as their squid sisters, with a rich, indulgent, creamy ham & cheese filling and the thinest, crispest of exteriors.

If you love croquetas (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), you have to have Barrafina’s.

Ham or squid, whatever you pick, you’re in for a whole new ball game!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Since we visited at what was technically brunch time, the classic tortilla was a must order.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

… and I can happily report that it is indeed a classic at all times of the week and day!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Potato slices, sauteed in olive oil, then topped with eggs and cooked to golden perfection…

Simplicity at its very best.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

Chargrilled artichokes with aioli, dressed in a shallot and chives vinaigrette.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

And spectacular Arroz de Marisco.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

A bit of a cross between a risotto and a seafood paella, with incredible depth of flavour from a saffroned bisque and topped with just-grilled seafood.

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

On the sweet side, we couldn’t resist the crema catalana bites.

Basically cheesecake, wrapped in crisp filo pastry, deep-fried and served with a tart berry coulis.

Berry indulgent indeed!

Barrafina Adelaide St / London's best tapas restaurant / Where to find a taste of Spain in London / Cake + Whisky

And –of course– a serving of obligatory cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Light, almost brioch-y, they are something special in their own right!

Now, the million dollar question – when to go so you don’t have to queue for hours?

We went on a Sunday for a late lunch (around 1pm) and waited around 20 min for a table. Late dinner is also quite a good bet, making it a great post-theatre option, especially on weekdays. But then again, I went a few years back on Easter Sunday and it’s the only time I’ve ever been seated right away…

So if your bank holiday plans allow it, go, go, GO!!

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ 

(there’s another Covent Garden branch on Drury Ln, and a Soho one on Dean St, all equaly good and hard to get into)

Where to eat if you can’t get a seat at Barrafina

Terroirs Wine Bar

The Barbary

Chick ‘n’ Sours

Shake Shack

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Back at Barrafina

Shake Shack

When it comes to London’s best burgers, the queues usually know where it’s at. Which can be both practical and absolutely infuriating.

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + WhiskyShake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Unfortunately, Shake Shack is no different in that regard.

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

But then again, they do cheese fries…

With actual cheese sauce [insert raising hands emoji]

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Absolutely irresistible!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

On the menu, there’s a really quite nice cheeseburger, but also a mean chicken burger (the Chick n’ Shack).

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

But the best thing you can order (and that’s really quite out of caracter coming from me) is the Shroom vegetarian burger!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

A crumbed & deep-fried mushroom ‘patty’, with cheese oozing from its centre and all the trimings. Absolute Shroom perfection!

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

Oh, and also, REALLY GOOD shakes…

Plus it’s one of the best options (aka. delicious while not requiring you to sell any body part to be able to afford the bill) right on Covent Garden Plaza.

(this place is good too btw, and there’s a Pizza Pilgrims nearby if you fancy a pizza that!)

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London ● Review ● Cake + Whisky

And if that’s not worth queuing spore, I really don’t know what is!

Shake Shack24, Market Building, Piazza, London WC2E 8R

Also on my ‘London best burgers’ list

Bleecker St. Burger

Lucky Chip

Patty & Bun

Shake Shack

Chick ‘n’ Sours Seven Dials

Another day, another brunch!

Now, this one’s nowhere near as traditional as the last one but it’s just as crackin‘!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + WhiskyChick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Unlike many of my faves, Chick ‘n’ Sours is not all about the eggs.

In this achingly cool restaurant, it’s the chicken that comes first!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Well, after the cocktails at least!

All of which are delightfully mixed and of the sour variety (hence the restaurant being called Chick ‘n’ Sours!).

My favourite was the signature The Chick ‘n’ Club (gin, blackberry, apple, vermouth, vinegar, sour).

A brilliant combination of all things autumnal in liquid form. Win.

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Though if you’re already into your festive phase, The Rye ‘n’ Black (rye whiskey, red wine syrup, sour) is absolutely the one!

Note to self: red wine syrup. Get on it!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Best enjoyed with a side of Mexi-nese Nachos.

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

If you think nachos are not really your thing, think again.

Those come drenched Chengdu chicken ‘n’ bacon, green chilli, kimchi and cheese sauce and are THE BOMB!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

So good in fact you better get your insta-perfect shots in quickly, or there’ll be nothing left for you but the plate to lick (if you’re lucky)!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Same rule applies for the Szechuan aubergine.

Coated in a light, crispy batter and swimming in a spicy, sour sauce, it goes right up there with Ottolenghi’s for the title of the best aubergine dish I’ve ever eaten.

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + WhiskyChick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Super moist + crispy chicken tenders with seaweed crack with sriracha sour cream.

Just as good as you’d expect from a top notch chicken joint.

When it comes to quality, these guys are definitely not yolking around!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

And then, there’s the K Pop Bun aka the chicken burger to end all chicken burgers.

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

Korean fried thigh, gochujang mayo, chilli vinegar, crunchy slaw, all stuffed into a brioche bun.

A true beast but one that’s well worth dislocating your jaw for!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

With a side of Pickled watermelon, coriander, mint & peanut salad to keep things fresh!

If you’re still hungry after that, there’s also some (apparently excellent) soft-serves to be had, but I’m afraid we chickened out!

Chick 'n' Sours restaurant review | Cake + Whisky

So if you’re after the best fried chicken in London, chick‘ out Chick ‘n’ Sours.

It’s just the spot to make every day fry-day!

Chick ‘n’ Sours1a Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LL (they also have a restaurant in Dalston)

Chick ‘n’ Sours Seven Dials

The Barbary, Neal’s Yard

Located at the heart of Covent Garden in iconic Neal’s Yard, The Barbary is one of London’s hottest restaurants right now.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

No surprise there, if you consider the fact that it’s a no-reservation, 22-seater type of restaurant, and of course there’s the fact that it’s the sister restaurant to hyper-popular Palomar…

The Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Though if you go for lunch on a Sunday, you might just get one of those precious 22 seats without having to queue at all, just saying!

The Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

I really have a thing for bar-eating, and the whole restaurant being built around a central kitchen, making a meal at The Barbary a really fun and interactive experience.

Because nothing makes for a better meal than debating all the menu options with the chef, right?!

The Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Except of course for some beautiful drinks!

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

The restaurant takes inspiration from the Barbary Coast, the area settled by the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya).

So no matter what you order, you’ll end up with a table full of beautiful, colourful dishes.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Starting with an excellent version of one of my favourite dishes in the entire world: sweet and (very) smokey Baba Ghanoush.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Zhug, Harrissa, Burnt & Pickled Chilli. 

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

A vibrant selection of spicy & zingy dips, with hot & pickled chillis and the cutest (and most delicious) baby pickled aubergine.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

With a soft, sesame-covered Jerusalem Bagel to mop it all up.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Plus some Naan e Barbari.

Because more bread is always a good idea, especially when each and every dish comes drizzled with some of delicious sauce/dressing!

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

As soon as you finish a plate, a new one miraculously appear in its place.

Much like eating at Hogwarts, but with much more tahini.

That said, tahini on the side of Tabouleh? Life-changing!

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Cauliflower Jaffa Style, with tomato pulp and yet more tahini…

The Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Punchy Monkfish Chermoula with beautifully charred, meaty pieces of monkfish marinated in herbs, lemon, cumin and garlic, served with tahini (!!) yoghurt and a generous spoonful of spicy harissa.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Followed by the most delicious Chicken Msachen.

Moist and tender chunks of chicken, topped with sumac and served with sweet onions and labneh. It might not sounds like much, but it was a winner across our table bit of the bar.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

The Daily Specials are also well worth exploring, as this really succesful Pork Adobo skewer proved on our visit.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Just make sure you save a tiny bit of room for dessert though, because the dessert menu is short, but really quite sweet!

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Hashcake. No, not that kind, you naughty!

This wonderful pistachio and honey tart of sorts is the chef’s take on New York’s famous crack pies, and are just as addictive!

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Basbousa, an Egyptian semolina cake with orange blossom syrup, almond slivers and a cheeky side of crème fraîche.

The Barbary, London | Cake + WhiskyThe Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

Both made even better with a side of Halva (a sesame base fudge-y confectionary) ice cream.

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

With a menu showcasing the diversity and reflecting the rich culinary traditions of the countries from the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel, The Barbary tells a story of trade, travel and culture.

Some history, a little bit of romance and a Kitchen Bar, The Barbary is a little holiday at home.

Take a peak at the menu on the website, and go hungry!

The Barbary, 16 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP

PIN FOR LATER:

The Barbary, London | Cake + Whisky

The Barbary, Neal’s Yard

Terroirs Wine Bar

The best place to indulge in meat, cheese, bread and wine is France. Obviously.

And trust me when I say I’ve been having my fare share of the good stuff already and fully intend to have more this coming week #wheninFrance

But with Bastille Day approaching, there’s no reason for me to be the only one enjoying les bonnes choses de la vie. 

So if you’re suffering from French food envy… I have just the place!

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + WhiskyTerroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Just a stone’s throw away from Covent Garden (and right by one of my absolute favourite London restaurants), Terroirs is a vibrant wine bar focusing on small scale, natural wines and ingredient-led, French-inspired small plates.

Everything sounds so good you’ll want to get stuck right in.

And after all, wine not?!

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

“Beryna” 2012 (Bernabe Navarro, Alicante, Spain) for the girls…

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

While I simply had to stop and smell the rosé (a lovely glass of 2014 Château Plaisance from Fronton, France).

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + WhiskyTerroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

With some bread and butter bien sûr.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + WhiskyTerroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Quickly followed by a table full of Terroirs’ best nibbles.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Rich, meaty Pork & Pistachio terrine with a generous helping of crunchy and sharp cornichons.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Wafer thin slices of Salame Felino.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

And a little bit of blue cheese (Bleu de Laqueille)…

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

We nibbled our way through the lot…

… and then some!

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + WhiskyTerroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Beef carpaccio with herbs and lemon.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Zingy, herby and fresh, I could have eaten five of those.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, France’s most infamous culinary speciality: snails.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Big, juicy snails, served on toast with a pungent, parsley & garlic sauce and crispy bacon.

A match made in (French) heaven.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Don’t mind if I do…

French puddings are always something special & Terroirs is no exception.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Simple but stunning Chocolate pot & Salted caramel.

Intense, rich and super indulgent.

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + WhiskyTerroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Beautifully light and creamy Panna Cotta with grappa and honeycomb.

A little piece of France in the heart of London, Terroirs Wine Bar is one of the best places if you’re after a lil’ bit of something nice.

Perfect for a quick after-work drink or a leisurely dinner with your favourite people

…or any time you just need to wine down!

Terroirs Wine Bar, 5 William IV St, London WC2N 4DW

PIN FOR LATER:

Terroirs Wine Bar | Cake + Whisky

Terroirs Wine Bar

Barrafina Adelaide Street

If you can’t go to Spain, just let Spain come to you.

And there’s no better place for that than Barrafina (trust me, I checked!)

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

 

The drinks, the atmosphere, the decor… It all seems straight out of one of Barcelona’s most sought after tapas bars.

And the food, oh the food.

The food is even better and absolutely faultless.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Making your choice might be a bit of challenge; many a dish are worth a taste.

And then there are the daily specials…

But then agin, I’m pretty sure whatever you go for, it’ll be stellar!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Micro piquillo peppers with brandada.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Crunchy ‘n’ melty Crab croquetas.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

A true thing of beauty (and probably more addictive than any drug!)

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Gorgeous crisp fried artichokes served with mustard aioli

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

The very best way to have your five a day!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Cuttlefish and chickpea ragout with squid ink.

Intensily saline and one all fish lovers must try!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Calçots and romesco.

Things don’t get more seasonal than that!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Finger-licking good Iberian pork ribs.

A sticky, deep and absolutely irresistible cracker of a dish that’ll have you lick the plate (which we may or may not have done)!

So good in fact we considered getting seconds…

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

But ended up listing to the voice of reason and went for dessert instead!

And not just any old dessert (ooooooh no!): Doughnuts and chocolate sauce.

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Cinnamon dusted, churros-like doughnuts

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

Dipped in some excellent, warm, bittersweet chocolate sauce

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

And washed off with the most delicious of dessert wines: Alameda Sherry!

London's best tapas at Barrafina Adelaide St.| Cake + Whisky

London’s best tapas for sure and definitely one worth braving the queues for any day of the week.

If you’re looking for me, you know where I’ll be…

Barrafina10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ   Barrafina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barrafina Adelaide Street

Native, Neal’s Yard

What better way to start the week than with a new restaurant to get you dreaming about next weekend already?

I mean, it is just 3.5 days away! #GodBless4DayWeeks

The sun seems to finally have found its way to London, taking a stroll into Covent Garden one of the very best things to do!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Wandering the cobbled streets is the best way to build up an appetite.

Once you’re good & hungry, make your way to Neal’s Yard colourful hidden courtyard, marvel at how truly adorable it is, then get yourself a table at Native.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

A greenery-adorned, garden-in-the-basement table, that is!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

The menu is short, simple and changes pretty regularly.

Depending on how many people you are / how hungry you are, you might even be able to try it all!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Things started off on a high with the Pigeon Kebab with beet hummus and harissa.

An Eastern-Europe-meets-the-Middle-East kind of dish and an absolute success!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Followed by an Easter special of Rabbit dumplings with wild garlic and pickled walnuts.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

So simple, yet elegant and perfectly balanced and probably my favourite of all dishes.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

For mains, we shared Goat cutlets with cauliflower puree, roast carrot and wild garlic.

A nice, comforting dish that could only have been improved by a couple of extra spoonfuls of that delicious, zingy herb dressing!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

All washed down with glass after glass of Native’s homemade Elderflower cordial.

Fresh, subtle and elegant, it’s something truly special and you must make sure to try it on your visit!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Just like the brilliant honeycomb-adorned Truffles.

Slightly salted, very rich and 100% decadent, they are what chocolate dreams are made of.

 

A truly exceptional ending to a lovely lunch and one you should definitely experience for yourself!

If you’re after seasonal food at its very best and a side of wandering in the spring sunshine, you really couldn’t do better!

Find Native online and make sure you book a table as it’s teeny-tiny (but oh so adorable!)

Native3 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H   Native  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Native, Neal’s Yard