Let me count the ways I love thee Barbary.... First there was The Palomar, it quickly became a favourite with, well, virtually everyone, and then came The Barbary, and swiftly the same thing happened. Nestled in the ever so pretty Neal’s Yard, this small plate restaurant takes inspiration from the Barbary Coast and specialises in North African dishes.
Sit up at the horseshoe-shaped counter and watch the chefs at work. Service is friendly but assured, the knowledgeable staff explain dishes with authority, and clear away empty plates without you noticing - no mean feat in what is a small, intimate space. Things begin well: don’t miss the Moroccan Cigars (spiced monkfish, hake and cod encased in crisp filo) and Arayes (minced beef lamb filled pita flavoured with spices - a bite sized kebab). They continue in that vein with the Ashkenazi Chicken Liver - this coarse pate-like mixture is full of powerful flavours (watch out for the mustard), yet wonderfully balanced. Perfectly executed marbled Pata Negra Neck is pink in the middle and beautifully charred on the outside. The list goes on, but we won’t spoil everything for you…. A final point to make- the pistachio Hashcake really does lives up to its rep - textured, moist, delicious.
Here is a place that deserves all of the accolades it receives - it’s worth the wait for a table (even better if you bag one of their early sittings, when you’re able to reserve).
Drink: Covent Garden Cocktail Club