Barbecoa by Jamie Oliver

Visit Date: 17/09/2015

Score: 35/50

Mit’s favourite restaurant…. Barbecoa…. A meat feast. But would it score highly enough now that our tastes are evolving and sometimes a good Rib Eye just doesn’t make the cut!
Location location location, as Kirsty and Phil would say. Centre of London, views of St Paul’s, “yes that big church thing is St Paul’s Cathedral Bill”! K&P would be rubbing their hands together believing that they are on a winner…. Just have to look inside now and we’ll be sold…..
Initially having trouble finding the place we asked in Barbecoa’s Butchers. Wow! We felt like real men inside! Sign me up for a butchery course! Even directions from here weren’t straightforward though and I would personally recommend some directional cards to be given out here, as I’m sure we weren’t the first and won’t be the last to ask inside. Or just better restaurant signage please Jamie.
Our welcome however was very friendly, and by the time everyone had said hello to us I had actually run out of hellos back! Inside it was cool, stylish and gave good first impressions. They say you decide to buy a house within the first 10 secs of the viewing, they say that about a lot of things including potential partners!, well I was definitely going to buy a chunk of meat here!
The bar was small and a little claustrophobic but had an exciting array of drinks with some interesting cocktails. The majority of us had to have a ‘Pickle-Rack O’Ribs’ …. Yes a cocktail!….. Consisting of a type of Bloody Mary, a shot of 100% Moonshine and a Rib! Hmm. Moving on. Once finished it was a simple round of beers, although they each came with a Bourbon, which was a nice touch If you like how America ruined our whisky.
Deciding that being at the bar was akin to viewing a terrace house, we swiftly went for additional square footage and moved to our table. Space, comfy chairs, fab views of St Pauls….. I would continue this house hunting analogy by saying we had found our state of the art, spacious penthouse flat, with awkward ceilings! Yes the setting was perfect but why the angular, odd shaped table? The 3 far diners would be fighting for space whilst the other two had no problems with noisy neighbours. Just unnecessary and it wasn’t like an exceptional table….. Just a cheap, ill topped plastic thing.
The menu looked fantastic and we were eager to get going. Obviously meat orientated, it was a great selection, with fish or chicken for those less bloodthirsty.

Starting with some ‘breads’, the Devil’s Cornbread was a cheesy dish of calorific naughtiness. That went well but unfortunately we only ordered one but ordered 2 Barbecoa Sourdoughs and 2 Tandoori Naans which were less overwhelming. In hindsight 3 Devilish delights alone would have sufficed!
Crab Hush Puppies were next up for me and were extremely good. Little crispy bundles of joy which I didn’t want to share with anyone else. Looking around the table I saw my friends eagerly munching away on ribs & chicken wings, although I was very happy to be at the more exclusive end of town and not involved with the mellay of grabby hands down the cul-de-sac!
Weird cocktails, American chased beers and a few cranberry juices, one of us having a big meeting in the morning for our real job, we decided not to go all out in the wines and settled on a few Sauvignon Blancs which went down well. The Shaw + Smith 2015 being particularly good.
The meat frenzy was to follow, with a 38oz Rib-Eye for 2, a Sirloin and a Mexican Chicken all ordered, together with various sides. I went against my typical beef fillet grain and ordered the Lamb which was a rump cut. I love lamb!, being brought up on racks of lambs, 10 lamb chops at a go or legs of lamb. But I won’t be having lamb rump again. Very average, and I know it’s a fatty meat, but half my plate was inedible fat. My artichoke, courgette and bacon accompaniment was nice, but didn’t understand its purpose, and the sides on the table were again just ‘OK’. Mit’s chicken was very tasty, however the general consensus was of being let down. It was like walking into a perfectly located penthouse apartment, with stylish fixtures and fittings, but bumping your head on a few angled ceilings, and finding out that the light switches don’t all work and the plug sockets are in awkward places! And then to top off the viewing, the beautifully appointed fitted kitchen has ghastly brown units.
Wine continued flowing and a few of us had desert. The stand out treat being the ‘Snickersphere’ which was gorgeous. For those readers not bored of my house buying parallels yet….. The Snickersphere was that beautiful garden with hot tub that you’ve always dreamt of (yes I know we’ve been looking at a penthouse apartment!) but you already know that your not going to buy the property and you just sigh at what may have been.
Jamie, no doubt your reading, I wouldn’t be so rude to say to stick to school dinners!, but I would certainly pass comment that in a competitive city like London, be it for restaurants or property, that it’s not all about Location, Location, Location.

20 New Change Passage,
City of London,
Greater London,
020 3005 8555

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