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…

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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!

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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…

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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.

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

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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

Smith & Whistle

I’m always on the lookout for a great cocktail bar. So when I was invited to the launch of Smith & Whistle, I grabbed my magnifying glass, put my bowler hat on and jump in the nearest cab (aaaaah, isn’t the Tube Strike a blessing?). To Piccadilly please, Driver!Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyI followed the light beams to the scene of the crime…Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyOr rather, the most stunning modern Art Deco bar I’ve ever seen. Nestled in the Park Lane Hotel on Picadilly, the newly opened Smith & Whistle masters the mix of genres. Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyI’m happy to report that my investigations made me discover that it also has a very well stocked bar indeed! Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyWhat I truly fell head over heels for was the decor. And those delightful blue-green-gray chairs! 
Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyMy sidekick and I started the evening with a glass of Chapel Down Brut, a wonderfully British sparkling wine. Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskySmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskySmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyJust as we were getting cracking’ on some urgent matters (us detectives don’t have an easy life!), we were offered some extremely crunchy pork crackling, which led me to do that epic face (and consequently ruined any chance of us getting onto any serious matter that evening…).
Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyInstead, we investigated the cocktail menu in search of our next tipple. Which was more complicated than we thought it would be. Not that the menu was long (it was refreshingly short), but it was very interesting (I might even have used the word ‘bulls-y’). Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskySmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskySmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyWe finally made our choice, placed our order and indulged in a bit of people-watching while the bar team got busy doing their thing… Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyHuge silver trays crossed the room, full of glasses in all shades of yellow, from the pale gold of sparkling wine to the bright orange of those cute bottles.Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyThe Detective Inspector Smith (Jameson, lemon, simple syrup, Angorusta bitters and beer foam) was obviously a must-order (the bar was named after him after all)! The perfect cross between a whisky sour and a pint of beer. Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyWhich gave my rather smug-looking sidekick the perfect opportunity to practice his best pub-buddy smileSmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyI truly recommend you give this a go (both the cocktail and the smile!) as it truly is on of the most balanced cocktails I’ve had in a while. 
Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyI went for another crowd-pleaser, The Fuzz (Havana Rum infused with rosemary, Cocchi Americano, Aperol. Carbonated). I mean, who could not like such an Instagram-worthy cocktail?Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyOne by one, people started to leave and the atmosphere went from buzzy to cheerfully relaxed.Smith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskySmith and Whistle bar launch party | Cake + WhiskyBrilliantly crafted cocktails, smiles all round and classy hats… I miht just have found my new Mayfair local! 

Smith & WhistleThe Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London W1J 7BX

Smith & Whistle