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

Moro, Exmouth Market

London is so big and buzzy and there’s always so much happening that it can be quite confusing at times.

Many a new-comer to the city has asked me where they should go first, and my answer is always the same.

Walk around, take buses and wander until you find your own little pocket of London. The one that feels like home and makes you go all heart-eyed.

As far as I’m concerned, I found mine a long time ago.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Minutes away from Farringdon station, Exmouth Market has it all: fairy lights, too-cute-to-be-true shops and, most importantly, a fantastic line-up of restaurants (including my London #1 and the best pizza this side of the Alps).

I’m afraid I’m not quite in the position to afford living around the corner just yet, so in the meantime, dinner it is!

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

This time at Moro, my beloved Morito’s grown-up sibling.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Compared to next-door’s buzzy & loud tapas bar, Moro is a very civilised affair.

Elegant surroundings with a rustic edge to them and service to match, it’s a great spot to take business partners or visiting parents, and an even better one for a romantic date!

Moro, Exmouth Market, London Moro, Exmouth Market, London Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Especially with crusty bread and a couple of cocktails, including a blooming lovely Rose & Lime Martini, to start!

Much like Morito, Moro build its menu around seasonal ingredients given a moorish treatment with touches from Spain and North African and carefully balanced spices aplenty.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Seared pigeon breast with rainbow chard, pine nuts, currants and rose jam being the perfect example of this.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

With perfectly cooked, just pink pigeon meat, melty chard, crunchy pine nuts & sweet currants, it’s basically autumn on a plate and everything I want to eat at the moment.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Cecina (dried beed) with carob rusk, tomato, preserved lemon & olive salad.

The perfect end of summer salad, combining ripe tomatoes, zingy condiments with delicate, umami dried beef rolls, all rounded up with smooth walnut oil.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

A moorish take on the Italian panzanella, and a very good one at that.

But then, it seems ‘very good’ is the norm at Moro…

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Wood roasted cod with braised celery, cauliflower, coriander, barberries and chickpea purée with harissa.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Charcoal grilled lamb with chopped grilled aubergine and red pepper salad, cumin yoghurt, walnuts and chilli butter.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

Chocolate and apricot tart wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, but in the best of ways.

I anticipated a rather homely slab of roasted-apricots-topped-with-ganache tart.

What we got instead was this lighter-than-air yet intense warm chocolate mousse sort of thing and it was divine.

Moro, Exmouth Market, London

But the true highlight of the meal was our last dish (and the simplest of them all): Rosewater and cardamom ice cream. Fragrant and delicate, it took the BF straight back to his childhood and within seconds, he declared it was the best thing he’s had all year.

A pretty bold statement and the number one reason why you should book a table.

More-ish, moorish, food doesn’t get much better than that!

Moro, 34-36 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE

Moro, Exmouth Market

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

Morito, Exmouth Market

There are no places in London I love more than Clerkenwell.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Tucked away at its heart is my favourite little pocket of London, Exmouth Market.

It has absolutely everything I like.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Pretty brick houses and retro-looking stores with just the right amount of hipster to them.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some seriously strong sign pun game.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Enough stationaries to make any addict’s heart happy.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some of the most beautiful plants I’ve ever seen.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

And most importantly, A LOT of lovely, independant and very good little restaurants.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Some of London’s very best have recently moved onto Exmouth Market, including Macellaio, an excellent ‘Italian butcher with tables’.

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London | Cake + Whisky

No matter what you’re after, be it British food, Korean chicken, cocktails or pizza, you’ll find it on Exmouth Market.

Unfortunately I haven’t had time to try it all just yet.

Not because I rarely am around, oh no, rather because I always find myself making a beeline for my absolute favourite restaurant in all of London.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito is a tapas & mezze bar, opened by hospitality legends Sam & Sam Clark, of the nearby Moro fame.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito,l, London | Cake + Whisky

It’s a somewhat small but oh-so-lovely space, with its signature orange bar and monogrammed wooden bar stools.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

And more importantly, the atmosphere and food rival that of the best tapas bars across Spain, with a touch of Northern Africa meets the Middle East thrown in for good measure.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Not over-ordering is always a challenge. The menus might be short, but I always want to try everything.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

From the short but carefully crafted cocktail list, we tried the Aperitivo (vermouth, cava, bay & orange).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

But my current favourite is a bit of a twist on a classic G&T, the Oliver (white vermouth, gin, tonic, orange slice).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The bread basket is an absolute must-order. All breads are made in house and are basically heaven in dough form.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The herby za’atar flatbread is my favourite, especially when dipped into rich, green olive oil seasoned with a few pinches of sumac.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Croquetas are such a tapas staple and so delicious I’m never, ever able to skip them.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

We went for the salt cod version this time, with heaps of parsley and a generous dollop of punchy aioli.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The tortilla is not as pillow-y here as it is at Barrafina, but the current leek and lemon thyme combination is so delicate and more-ish.

An absolute lunch winner.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

My favourite dish was a little Confit duck, escarole & hazelnuts number.

Such a simple, yet vibrant and perfectly balanced dish.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The Crispy aubergine, whipped feta & date molasses, topped with fresh mint leaves, is basically next level dirty fries and another crowd pleaser (and it seems a favourite amongst the staff as well…).

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least was the Chicken, chorizo, spinach & oloroso a la plancha.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

Perfectly grilled chicken, with heaps of chorizo and just soft spinach leaves.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

A match made in heaven.

Morito, London | Cake + Whisky

The dessert list is really rather short (olive oil mousse or ice cream on our visit) but even I don’t mind as I’m usually too stuffed to even consider dessert and settle for a caffè con leche instead.

The perfect end to a perfect meal, just like every other time I’ve visited Morito.

Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QE  Morito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morito, Exmouth Market

London’s best tapas | Barrafina

Barrafina is legendary for how long the queues are at each of the group’s 3 restaurants.

I’ve only heard rave reviews from anyone who visited, so I knew I’d eventually have to cave up and see it for myself.

As we got out of the Lyceum Theatre after having seen The Lion King the other day (best musical I’ve ever seen, in case you were wondering!), dinner at the newly opened Barrafina Drury Lane seemed to be the perfect way to finish off the evening. 
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyAnd at 10-something PM, we didn’t even have to queue for a couple of seats at the counter! #WinWin
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyIt didn’t take us long to order: just a quick look at the menu and a lot of staring over the counter and pointing at everything that looked good!Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyWe started off with the best croquetas I’ve ever had (and god knows I’ve done extensive research!). So good and melty I regreted not ordering a second plate! Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyBarrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyI quickly found consolation in the plate of crispy Chipirones that was swiftly put in front of me.
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyThe specials had almost all disappeared from the board by the time we arrived (I suppose that’s the drawback from arriving that late…), but the sardine toast was still available… Sardine “à la plancha”, parsley salad and roasted pepper aioli… Basically perfection on toast!
Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyLamb’s sweetbread are one of those love-it-or-hate-it ingredients. That said, I believe Barrafina’s version (with a rich gravy, parsley and capers) could convince the most dubious of people! Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyWe finished off the meal with the best cooked, most tender Roast Milk Fed Lamb I’ve ever had. Truly incredible.Barrafina Drury Lane review | Cake + WhiskyNot that we were still hungry, but we couldn’t resist ordering Leche Frita, if only to satisfy our curiosity… I mean, wouldn’t you want to know what “fried milk” is?

If you must know, it’s some kind of Creme Catalane, battered then deep fried and served with tangy plum compote and my very own idea of dessert heaven. And the perfect (sweet) ending to this fantastic meal!

Barrafina Drury Lane, 43 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5AJ (closest stations are Covent Garden and Temple)

London’s best tapas | Barrafina

#Letsgetfoodiechallenge Week 2 – Something green | Spinach Tortilla

In the second edition of the #letsgetfoodiechallenge, Amanda challenged us to create a recipe with something green in it.

Now I love my greens, so once again, I was a bit paralized by the choices. But since we were heading to Brighton during the last Bank Holiday weekend, and the idea of a picnic on the beach was simply too difficult to resist, I ended up revisiting one of my favourites recipes: Tortilla. Since I got some beautiful spinach at the farmers’ market that same morning, I thought I would add some in as well and cross my fingers really hard for it to work and result in something delicious. And IT REALLY DID!

Spinach Tortilla – serves 4

You’ll need: 5-6 medium waxy potatoes, 5-6 eggs (I only had 3, but more would have been better!), chopped parsley, chopped garlic (I used dried garlic), 2-3 sliced spring onions, 2 big handfuls of spinach, olive oil, salt, pepper.

Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaStart by preping all your vegetables. Slice your potatoes up as thin as possible (without slicing your fingers though!).Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaSlice your onions too, and wash your spinach and dry it up. Chop your parsley and garlic.Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaIn a bowl, whisk your eggs with some salt and pepper, then add in your garlic and parsley.Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaGet a pan (one that goes into the oven would be perfect here! I got mine from IKEA) nice and hot, then add in some olive oil and your potatoes and fry those until they’re tender. Transfer to a bowl and keep them to the side for now. Fry your onions and do the same.  
Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaNext up, you’ll need to cook your spinach.
Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaCake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaOnce it’s ready, add the onions and potatoes on top and give the whole thing a good stir to combine all the elements. Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaPour your egg mix on top and cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a hot oven (180-200 °C) and cook for a further 5-7 minutes. Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaTake your masterpiece out of the oven and eat it while it’s hot. Or get some friends together and bring it to a picnic on the beach!Cake + Whisky | #letsgetfoodiechallenge 2 | Spinach TortillaWhat’s your favourite picnic recipe? 

#Letsgetfoodiechallenge Week 2 – Something green | Spinach Tortilla