30 July 2014

Barnyardone star

18 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2LZ

£45.00 British Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia
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  • Wine: £16.00
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12N-12M (Sun -4pm)

Square Meal Review of Barnyard ?

For their follow-up to Michelin-starred Dabbous, chef Ollie Dabbous and drinks maestro Oskar Kinberg have created something completely different: instead of a fine-dining clone, Barnyard is a casual, no-bookings joint with a menu of reasonably priced dude food. Dishes arrive on enamel plates, often with a ramekin of something to give textural contrast: a glossy sausage roll with palate-sharpening piccalilli; a blackened short rib of beef alongside a spear of gherkin and some mustard and black-treacle sauce, say. It’s all about direct flavours and comfort. Sides are fun, pud might bring a Mr Whippy-style popcorn ice cream with a jug of smoked fudge sauce, and the drinks list includes frothy milkshakes (‘hard’ and ‘soft’) served in retro milk bottles. Elsewhere, Barnyard ticks all the in-vogue boxes, with its reclaimed timber furnishings, corrugated tin walls, toe-tapping indie/folk soundtrack and staff who look very much like the people they are serving.

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  1. Published : Wednesday, 16th July 2014

    London - Girl About Town :: Barnyard

    So it's a warm, drizzly Saturday afternoon in Fitzrovia and I'm just off to Michelin's hottest star Ollie Dabbous's restaurant. No, not that one - I mean Barnyard, his newest venture round the corner, where I'm reliably informed the wait is mere hours rather than months thanks to a 'no reservations' policy.The first surprise; we appear to have fortuitously turned up between busy periods and are shown to a table immediately - nice. The second surprise; that the famously precise Ollie Dabbous, whose endive salad contains endive to orange to mint in an exact 3:3:4 ratio and who reputedly once roundly berated staff for leaving a ragged edge on the toilet paper instead of a clean line, has chosen to open a restaurant that looks like - well, like the inside of a ramshackle old barn. To be fair to Dabbous though, nobody gets that good without a fierce eye for detail and a relentless drive for perfection. (Actually, in Dabbous's case, hardly anybody gets THAT good at all.) Barnyard, then, feels almost like an alter-ego: reclaimed fixtures, sunflowers, mottled corrugated iron walls, manly staff in checked shirts who look like they've just finished pitchforking hay, white enamel plates and cocktails in half-pint dimpled beer mugs. It's very Of Mice and Men, but in a good way. It's fun. I'm already looking forward to good things.Dabbous himself is still somewhat busy running his aforementioned eponymous joint so the food at Barnyard comes courtesy of Joseph Woodland (The Square, Launceston Place) and has been described by Dabbous's business partner Oskar Kinberg as 'home cooking, done well and without the washing-up'. At first glance, the menu - divided, with suitably agricultural unsentimentality, into sections headed 'cow', 'pig' and so on - contains the usual suspects for a retro Americana vibe, along with some British classics: beef, eggs, fries, chicken wings, sausage rolls, milkshakes. More of which later.In keeping with the informal feel (you are very likely to end up squished elbow-to-elbow with other diners, it's really not the place for a private chat) the dishes are designed for sharing. I love this, as in my experience meal envy can test the strength of any relationship, but it can be tricky to gauge portions on a first visit; also the tables are quite small, so expect mild juggling and balancing to be involved. We went with our waiter's advice of 5-6 dishes plus sides and plumped for the chicken in a bun, duck egg with asparagus, fries, roast beef with watercress salad, crispy chicken wings, and broken eggs with mushrooms, garlic and parsley.Restaurants mixing high-end dining with low-end classics can face the Bubbledogs conundrum; how much can you polish up a classic dish before it loses what makes it a classic in the first place? Barnyard has balanced this well. The chicken in a bun was moist and flavoursome, in a light brioche-style bun and served with delicately-seasoned mayonnaise. The duck egg and asparagus was delicious and beautifully presented, although given that it is a sharing plate, getting both halves of the egg would have been nice. The fries were, well, classic fries; crispy and just right.Opinion was divided on the broken eggs - basically barely-cooked egg swirled with earthy mushrooms, spiked with garlic and balanced out with parsley. The texture was a little strange, but it was somehow comforting and I couldn't help thinking that, accompanied with some sourdough toast perhaps, it would make a perfect hangover breakfast. The wings, much hyped, were actually not my favourite; there was a quite strong herby note (fennel?) that whilst not unpleasant, I just hadn't expected from the description.The beef, on the other hand, was outstanding. Supple slices of intensely-flavoured rare roast beef, the lightest crisp of toast, fresh peppery watercress and a warm buttermilk dressing that blends nursery comfort with the bite of horseradish. I loved this. Do not, on any account, visit Barnyard without having this dish; visually, texturally, the blend of flavours - it is fabulous in every way.My other personal must-have - although this could be just me - is the acorn flour waffle with chocolate and malt. Totally undersold on the menu, this is delicious; a perfect dense waffle (completely unlike the plasticky fast food versions), a rich, nutty chocolate sauce and a divine malted cream that tasted exactly like the inside of Maltesers. What's not to like? Which brings me, neatly but not really, on to the drinks. Trust me and beware, these are the archetypal wolves in sheep's clothing. Shandies? I think not. They may well contain beer or cider plus lemonade, but these are basically cocktails in a swigging glass. Extras include gin, bourbon, whisky and tequila, with not a warning umbrella, sparkler or decorative pineapple quarter in sight - and in a half pint glass. They are intriguing, delicious, and incognito. I am absolutely serving a version of these at every BBQ I host this summer. Form an orderly queue, please. (Oh, and don't think you can escape with a milkshake - even they come with an optional tot of something stronger.)My one regret is the absence from the menu of the popcorn ice cream with smoked fudge sauce; I had heard good things and was keen to try it. During a quick chat with the utterly charming, laid-back manager he explained that their ice cream maker had broken the day before but that the dish would be back on the menu very soon. Hey ho - I guess at least I got to experience the waffle with malted cream. Ollie, Oskar and Joseph Woodland, I salute you.Yours, in virtual gingham and petticoats,Girl About Town xx
    More from London - Girl About Town »

  2. Published : Monday, 16th June 2014

    Drifting Epicure :: Barnyard

    Barnyard is the second restaurant by Ollie Dabbous and Oskar Kinsberg, the duo behind the more-than-difficult-to-book restaurant Dabbous in the same area. Though related Barnyard is hugely different. As the name suggest it is a much stripped down version of Dabbous. No hay balls in sight but unpolished wood decorating the walls and tables plus a mix match of bar chairs are part of what creates a rural feel in the city. Barnyard has a no reservation policy for those who can’t get an evening table at Dabbous but hope to be able to experience a drizzle of that kitchen wizardry. Just be warned that the food is as humble as the name Barnyard suggests. How good this simplicity is remained to be tasted...
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  3. Published : Tuesday, 27th May 2014

    Wrap Your Lips Around This :: Barnyard

    Years after opening, Dabbous (the restaurant) is still impossible to get into. Just this morning I see a tweet from the restaurant proclaiming that there is a seat free for lunch – for one. Yes, thank you, let me spend my 30 minute lunch break getting as close as I can to those hallowed halls, before I turn back for the return journey. Alone. The creator of said madness, Ollie Dabbous (the man), has recently opened up a spin-off restaurant of sorts – Barnyard. Barnyard has not spun off very far from the mothership, located within queuing distance of Dabbous. And queue you will, at this no-reservations spot where peak times are enough to drive anyone to distraction, and often without the payout of being fed. Whether it is this policy or the food that has kept the punters away long enough to nab a table is anyone’s guess, as both leave much to be desired...
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  4. If someone asked me, and which they do - "what is the hardest restaurant to get into in London right now", my answer is always the same - Dabbous. With its cutting edge avant garde cuisine, and stunning flavours, stripped back to basics - it's no wonder the wait is so long. But while i enjoyed my experience at Dabbous, i felt it was a one time visit, and i wouldn't want to go back again. With Ollie Dabbous new venture, Barnyard, sporting a no booking policy - i decided to wait it out and queue. To get in their before it gets even busier, than it already is. Arriving a little after half seven, there were unfortunately no tables for the three of us. The friendly guy at the door told us we'd receive a call back in a lengthy two hour window. We hedged our bets and stuck around in the area sipping - or in my case gulping white wine. Ten o'clock approached and no call back so we scuttled our way back, it was empty - had they forgotten about us? I think so. Still we sat down (in an empty restaurant) and quickly ordered. First out was a small plate of bubble and squeak with black pudding, apple chutney and a fried egg. It was just that, no frills, no spectacular wow upon arrival and while it was very well cooked and seasoned...
    More from londonfoodaholic »

  5. Published : Thursday, 3rd April 2014

    Samphire and Salsify :: Barnyard, Fitzrovia

    Based on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, Barnyard is the new all-American restaurant from Ollie Dabbous – he’s the guy behind Michelin starred Dabbous, famed for having a year and a half waiting list for a table – which wasn’t worth the wait if you ask me! Getting a table at Barnyard however was a little easier; they don’t take bookings and at 6:30, the four of us were told it’d be an hour long wait (which actually turned out to be an hour and forty minute wait) but we could at least wander off for a drink and return once they phoned...
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  6. The phrase ‘dirty food’ is often used to describe the casual, inexpensive, non-haute cuisine, such as burgers and burritos, that have taken London’s restaurant scene by storm ever since the recession. I don’t like the term as it implies that such food is somehow grubby, inferior or less deserving of critical attention and devotion than other food – an implication that is patently absurd. It’s hard not to think of the phrase though when eating at Barnyard. A spin-off of the nearby haute cuisine restaurant Dabbous, a lot of effort and expense has gone into making the place look as informal, rough and cheap as possible...
    More from The Picky Glutton »

  7. Published : Tuesday, 25th March 2014

    The Little Brown Book :: Barnyard

    Ollie Dabbous' latest venture has everyone clucking with excitement and reading 5* reviews at every turn sent Barnyard directly to the top of my to-do list. With a no bookings policy, kiss goodbye to the notorious month-long waiting list you're likely to experience down the road at Dabbous although I can guarantee it won't be long before the queues are stretching out of Barnyard's door. Barnyard is everything you want out of a Sunday lunch destination (or any other lunch, or dinner for that matter but I'm biased about Sunday lunch on this occasion). We arrived in front of the aesthetically lovely white picket-fenced exterior and grinned at the lack of queue - this isn't going to be a secret for long!...
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  8. Barnyard London is the second restaurant by Ollie Dabbous. This venue is very different and a lot more informal than his first restaurant, the Michelin Star holding Dabbous. So what can you expect from this new venue, just a few minutes walk away from his first? I attended on their first pubic day to have a look. Barnyard - Look out for the big bright red cock... Barnyard – Look out for the big bright red cock… Dabbous has become known as one of London’s most difficult venues to book. Countless acquaintances complain that they can never get a table. However, Ollie Dabbous’ new venue, Barnyard, is only a stone’s throw away and, like many new venues it does NOT take bookings. So if you are turned away from Dabbous, it is worth coming to Barnyard instead?...
    More from @wilkes888 - London based Food & Drink-o-phile »

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