Located at the heart of Covent Garden in iconic Neal’s Yard, The Barbary is one of London’s hottest restaurants right now.
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…
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!
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?!
Except of course for some beautiful drinks!
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.
Starting with an excellent version of one of my favourite dishes in the entire world: sweet and (very) smokey Baba Ghanoush.
Zhug, Harrissa, Burnt & Pickled Chilli.
A vibrant selection of spicy & zingy dips, with hot & pickled chillis and the cutest (and most delicious) baby pickled aubergine.
With a soft, sesame-covered Jerusalem Bagel to mop it all up.
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!
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!
Cauliflower Jaffa Style, with tomato pulp and yet more tahini…
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.
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 Daily Specials are also well worth exploring, as this really succesful Pork Adobo skewer proved on our visit.
Just make sure you save a tiny bit of room for dessert though, because the dessert menu is short, but really quite sweet!
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!
Basbousa, an Egyptian semolina cake with orange blossom syrup, almond slivers and a cheeky side of crème fraîche.
Both made even better with a side of Halva (a sesame base fudge-y confectionary) ice cream.
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
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