Sam and Eddie Hart’s no-bookings tapas joint is still a yardstick by which lesser eat-and-run Soho hot spots measure themselves. Just a handful of stools surround the marble-topped, L-shaped bar – a magnet for thirsty diners craving an ice-cold sherry or splash of Albariño to complement plates of rigorously sourced Spanish charcuterie and spanking-fresh seafood. Barrafina’s strength is its authenticity, and the kitchen knows how to deliver everything from ham croquetas and tortilla to octopus with capers, grilled quail with allioli and ‘always special’ specials including juicy presa ibérica (from the upper part of the pig’s shoulder) – all cooked in front of you by a high-energy team. The place also scores with its treasure-trove of Spanish wines from lesser-known producers – note the indigenous grape varieties. Don’t be deterred by the crowds of hopefuls waiting for a seat: this tiny, class-act venue runs like clockwork.
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