A Dean Street branch of the beloved tapas bar.
Barrafina Dean Street is kind of a Big Deal. It’s a homecoming, you see: this space is a replacement for the original Soho Barrafina, which closed in the summer of 2016. You know – the one that took London’s tapas scene high-end, spawned two wildly popular sibling restaurants (on Adelaide Street and Drury Lane) and had a queue for a solid nine years. No pressure then. Happily, this new iteration lives up to the rep.
A bright, elegant space, you perch up at an L-shaped marble bar. And while counter dining is a tried and tested formula, the novelty hasn’t worn off one bit. Prawns sizzle, whole octopuses are seasoned in front of you and white-aproned chefs whizz about efficiently. Being this close to the creation of your food builds a delicious sense of expectation. You get the distinct feeling something wonderful is about to happen. It is.
On my visit, that something was a dish of milk-fed lamb sweetbreads (here, they use neck glands in place of the regular pancreas). These spongy, offally titbits often frighten more squeamish diners. Fight the fear and do it anyway; the meat was impossibly soft, with a lip-smacking umami depth. Also unmissable was Barrafina's classic onion and fried potato tortilla, served beautifully brown on the outside, but oozing a warm golden egg yolk when cut.
The only slight disappointment was the service; everyone was charming, but they completely forgot one dish. That's a small price to pay for a near-perfect meal, though. Barrafina's still got it.
|Venue name:||Barrafina Dean Street|
26-29 Dean St
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Rd.|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £115|
|Do you own this business?|