It seems that the Barrafina family have become an inadvertent tradition for celebrations around here - but it's absolutely worthy of it. Last summer, E and I celebrated our two year anniversary at the Adelaide St. branch, and in the past couple of months, I've visited the Drury Lane branch to congratulate my sister on an impressive achievement and to cheers to E's birthday a couple of weeks ago.
So, just so you're not knocked out of your seat with the huge amount of food that is pictured below, you should know that these were taken across two different visits to Barrafina Drury Lane!
I love pretty much everything about the Barrafina restaurants - aside from them being the best tapas I've had in London (and most friends who've been feel the same way), the setting of the counter-only seats, the friendly and personable staff, and the experience of watching the chefs hard at work whilst bouncing around delicious Spanish words is second to none. I also love that each branch boasts a slightly different menu, which makes it so much more interesting. It also caters to varying budgets - it's not the cheapest if you want a truly filling meal, but you don't have to spend a fortune to be absolutely stuffed, and you can also go in for a casual bite.
I've listed below the dishes I've tried, and the ones with a * are my personal favourites and must-orders (although once I have tasted the entire menu - which is my life long aim, let's face it - these may increase drastically). Some of them were from the specials board, but most are from the regular a la carte menu.
Pan con Tomate (a bruschetta-like starter)
Bacon wrapped dates
Arroz Negro* (squid ink rice with cuttlefish and alioli. dreamy.)
Classic Tortilla* (Spanish omelette)
Braised Ox Tongue
Salt Cod Brandada
Pork Belly, Mojo Verde*
Chicken Wings, Harissa Alioli
Chips, Brava Sauce
Torrijas (kind of like French toast?)
Cuajada (kind of like a panna cotta)
It's not somewhere you should go with a group, as there are only counter seats, but it is the perfect setting for a date, catch up with a friend, or solo dining! They don't take reservations, so be prepared to queue at peak times - they do have a little mini bar where you can have drinks and nibbles while you wait.
In our opinion, the Drury Lane branch is slightly ahead of Adelaide St., but I would recommend both. The original Frith St. branch has one Michelin star, but I've yet to try it - it's definitely on my list.