From the people behind Dabbous, unusual and well-executed cooking in Fitzrovia: casual, family-friendly vibe and affordable prices, but no bookings, alas.
There’s a vast bar-restaurant in Helsinki called Zetor (‘Tractor’), where Finns go to sit on hay bales, admire each other’s checked shirts, then indulge in wildly drunken barn dancing. It’s also a place to witness the infamous Finnish capacity for booze. Heavy drinking is something that Londoners do well too. Getting in touch with our inner bumpkin, however, is still a niche interest in London, and it’s one that Barnyard is now here to satisfy – particularly those with a more sober desire for rus in urbe than the Finns.
Barnyard’s walls are corrugated iron, the tables stripped planks; plates are enamelled, some seats are oil drums. But wait a minute, isn’t this the latest venture from Ollie Dabbous, a chef so cutting edge he could probably chop down a wild elderberry shrub with his bare hands while out foraging. Of the modernist restaurant Dabbous, the one that’s fully booked until the northern hemisphere runs out of chilled pine infusions and fig leaf broth?
Ollie Dabbous doesn’t just do hifalutin’ cookin’, that’s clear; he can also do casual, family-friendly, and affordable. Barnyard’s menu at first glance can read like motorway service station caff – cauliflower cheese, sausage roll, chicken in a bun – until you delve a bit deeper.
‘Lard on toast’ and ‘mince and dumpling’ are just that, in small-plates portions – but both dishes were full-flavoured and beautiful in their simplicity. More complex was the crispy chicken wings, rubbed with smoked paprika, garlic and lemon, succulent and fragrant, the envy of many dedicated chicken-fryers.
Unusual flavours, as at Barnyard’s high-end sibling, are a signature. Corn on the cob was rubbed with flowery-scented meadowsweet, which permeated the butter. Hispi cabbage had an unusual taste that turned out to be clover. Harvester this is not.
Despite the affordable pricing and no-bookings policy, there is haute cuisine precision in many of the dishes. We were impressed by the acorn-flour waffle, firmly textured and perfectly formed. Popcorn ice-cream was served with a fudge sauce so smoky we looked around for the diesel exhaust, but in small amounts it added a welcome extra dimension to the dish.
Service is charming, the low bill is even more agreeable. Be prepared to queue; it’s tiny. But there’s an equally bucolic bar at the front. Barn dancing is not expected – if the spirit suddenly moves you, you might have had one Hedgerow Shandy too many.
18 Charlotte Street
|Opening hours:||Open noon-midnight Mon-Sat; noon-4pm Sun.|
|Transport:||Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road tube|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £40.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.8 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:8
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:7
- 1 star:10
Honestly, I don't get the hype.
The food was nice - nothing other than that. If anything I was actually quite disappointed. I eat out a lot and can recommend so many great restaurants. Sadly, this one is not on the list.
An astonishing review. The concept is nice on paper but it totally failed to live up to expectations. The staff were lovely but it all felt a little forced - the no grazing policy at the bar is a strange one but the food was the biggest disappointment of the evening. Perhaps the bar has been raised by other restaurants, but the food here was totally unremarkable. The shakes were awful and although not expensive, if you are going to serve small portions on a small menu each dish should wow. Sadly not a single one did.
Average I'd say. Good flavour and innovative, but all the food was dry. The cornbread (which was the best thing we got) didn't come with any butter, and it was equally sauce-less from there. The sausage 'Egg in a Nest' thing came with literally a thimble worth of gravy.
I booked a table (you can make a reservation contrary to what TO say) and expected it to be bumping, being the spin-off of a pricey Michelin-starred restaurant, but we were one of three tables there. Granted it was a Tuesday, but that strip of Fitzrovia is always packed, especially with the after-work crowd.
They could pick it up and easily improve it, and I hope they do!
This place is the worst place I have eaten in London,,, Tiny portions and hideously expensive ,,One to avoid - I cannot believe it hasn't closed down - dreadful
Food was great but we ended up spending a fortune because there was so much that sounded good on the menu and probably over ordered. Atmosphere was fun and staff lovely. Would go back but would order more carefully next time.
I just wish I would read the user reviews before going there. The roast comes with lots of vegs and potatoes but with a small portion of meat. The corn bread comes inside a brown bag- why? The service was confused. We had to ask for plates after the starter arrived. The quality of food is good but overall it just doesn't add up to an experience you want to repeat.
Lovely meal, great food - particularly the cauliflower cheese. The shandies are fantastic - worth going just for them! Great atmosphere and friendly staff.
I love this place. I came with my friend one night after work and we had a great time. It's a very unusual place, both in decor and in the menu, but it's really enjoyable. The menu is set up so that you get a few plates between you (like tapas) which works well as you get to try a bit of everything. The staff are really good fun and the milkshakes are unreal
Nothing special. I thought the food was great, but a little expensive for the amount you get. We didn't think the service was good at all, especially after they messed up our booking and then moved us half way through our meal. However, they were apologetic and there was no waiting too long for food.
Would probably go back because I liked the food but would just have very low expectations and hoped it improved.
No Waiting, but massive let down on the food. So many other places in London that does this style so much better now. Is this on the list due to the previous credentials of Ollie dabbious?
I can't believe it's the same place as the one the reviewer describes. We were so disappointed. The food was just okay - the 'Spring lamb' was tough and tasted more like mutton, the chicken wings were very limey (overpoweringly so) and the dishes were really small. But expensive.
The staff were really nice! And the charred broccoli was amazing. Best broccoli ever. The Beef and Pork were delicious, but so small, and at £14 a pop, I thought it was expensive.
We eat out a lot, and both decided we wouldn't go back, nor recommend it! (apart from the broccoli!)
The staff and the Shandies are great. It was a little annoying to queue for a table for 2 however, when there were tables free but only available for parties of 4 (no one else was waiting and there were two lots of 4 seater tables unoccupied). The decor was lovely too but (and it's a big but) the food is pretty disappointing. The small plates of food are over priced and underwhelming. Also a "cakey" type pudding is desperately needed on the dessert side of the menu. I'd go back for drinks but definitely not to eat again!
we loved it. it's the first restaurant that i've been to where the staff seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. enjoyed the food and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Couldn't get in the first time I tried because of a 3 hour wait. Went back a week later at an earlier time and managed to get a table no problem... In all honestly I wish I had saved the £100. Some of the food was nice and the quality was ok, but the portions were laughable, I have not recommended this place to anyone and will not. RIP-OFF
Wasn't impressed. Very fatty meat; tiny portions - suitable sizes for small children. We tried most of the menu and nothing was memorable. The service was good, but I didn't come for that.
I didn't make it in. Went there at 6PM on Friday after work. Got there, was approached almost immediately after entering the venue so quick service there... only to be told they were full for the evening. Slightly taken aback I assumed it had been fully booked so enquiring about a second visit, asked how far in advance to book. The staff member started smiling and told me they didn't take bookings. More baffled I asked how can they be full then surely its up to an hour or two to wait or something? He smiled further and told me it was a 4 to 5 hour wait for a table for 2 with only 10 people on the waiting list. If I ever make it in I'll revisit this review but till then, frustrating experience at the door.
I have tried to have dinner there twice.. And two failures: first time, I had to queue 2h so we gave up and decided to come back another time... The second experience was worse... As we finally got a table, I experienced the worse staff in town: condescending, rude... in order not to ruin the whole evening, we didn't even make it to try the food as we decided to pay for the bottle of Wine we had already ordered (not drunk yet though...) and leave this place as soon as possible
I have been on two occasions both times I was shocked by how rude and condescending the staff were. I thought I'd give them the benefit of doubt and come again but wish I hadn't. Pretentious, stuck up and hugely unwelcoming. Frankly that ruined whatever good I could say about the food. Never going back.
Maybe not having to queue helped, arriving on a sunny afternoon for a late lunch, able to sit by the windows... but even if we had had to wait, I think the food would have made up for it.
The food's not so much "wow" - which is too often associated with flash presentation and expensive ingredients (and an over-spend on décor) - as simply well thought through and excellently executed i.e. really good, skilled cooking.
The "JACKET POTATO WITH SMOKED BUTTER - £3 " - so simple, sooooooo good, never seen it anywhere else, something I'll try to copy, for sure! Ditto the "CHARRED BROCCOLI VINAIGRETTE - £3" - you have to prefer your veg nearly raw (which I do) but a really successful twist: quality, dark-green, properly fresh broccoli, smoky singed flavour, light vinaigrette - delish!
I'm surprised the reviewer didn't try the two higher priced dishes - the only two costing double figures, Yes Folks! everything else on the menu under a tenner! can you believe it :-)
These are the "BARBECUED GRAIN-FED SHORT RIB, HOMEMADE DILL PICKLE, MUSTARD & BLACK TREACLE - £12" and the "ROAST SUCKLING PIG WITH CELERIAC & CARAWAY - £11"
In both cases, bang on! Suckling Pig is a Spanish speciality and we've sampled it all over Spain (lived there since 1982) and this was perfect: meat sweet, soft, drooly, and the crackling crisp and -yes- thin! so not a trip-to-the-dentist crackling where it's the tooth that crack(ling)s!
And the beef: we were a bit reluctant to order, as we prefer a high sear, just-on raw (Josper) but again, right on! - apparently simple concept yet hard to do, to produce a 1-inch+ thick wee brick of BBQ-flavoursome meat that's still moist, the celeriac and caraway a great off-set.
Nobody tried a pudding yet? - the "APPLE & CLOUDBERRY CRUMBLE WITH CLOTTED CREAM - £4" does what it says on the label, but does it right-on, not mucked about
Don't expect Haute Cuisine and frills, do expect imaginative, really well priced, Good Cooking thrills
One star missing - not for the food but for the only-four wines, but the Sicilian red we had was unpretentious, well made and properly priced - the Key Note to Barnyard
finally i came with my friends to try your food guys, i dont know what even to say, such a big boom! but its not how its look. i love fine dining small portions and fancy stuff, dont get me wrong, but this is pornography. and service its was the biggest disappointment!
Good food but ignore the server suggestion to order 3 dishes each in advance which helps them to turn tables quicker rather than helping you enjoy your meal. Everything you order comes at the same time so you can have a full table of food with half the dishes going cold while you are enjoying the others. Better idea to order a couple of plates, enjoy and then order more.
A no booking policy meant we waited over an hour at the tiny bar for a table talking over a loud playlist of old Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and honky-tonk blues. Worth it? Well...yes. Oliver Dabbous's new country cousin food spot is casual, low cost, quick turn over dining, which unlike Dabbous, are factors that may not appeal to the super-fabulous. However Barnyard does deliver where it counts... with the cooking. And that's good enough to keep even the most impatient foodies happy!