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|Address:||20 New Change Passage, London EC4M 9AG|
|Tel:||020 3005 8555|
|Price: £52.00||Wine: £21.00||Champagne: £54.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 11.30-11pm (Sat 12N- ) Sun 12N-10pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Surely micro salad is at odds with the whole modern barbie concept?
I found that very garnish nestling on my plate of brined chicken at Barbecoa. Though blackened and charred in all the right places, the chicken was plated with grace, vibrant colour and refinement; uncooked red onion was tempered with a sousing of lime in the guacemole, and crisp strips of tortilla added satisfying texture and crunch in place of fries. Despite this, and the chicken’s moist white meat and appetisingly gnarled skin, it was just a bit dull. A side of chips cooked in duck fat were alleged to have a dash of fancy vinegar, but I certainly couldn’t pick it up.
In contrast, my man ordered the suitably macho Pit Beef: two plump portions of fork-tender meat atop a dark and brooding mound of smoky baked beans. It looked a little rough around the edges, but had the depth of flavour you’re after when you set out to have a meat feast of ungodly proportions.
I wonder if this is why Jamie Oliver’s stab at ‘fire and food’ hits bum notes. The food’s not bad but a, he’s got serious kahunas to charge such princely sums and b, I’d rather go to Brew and Que for a stonking rib of beef and a hoot (or Bar Boulud for a seriously upmarket burger). 2012 was the year of the gastro grill, and plenty of places are nailing this concept with greater flair and authenticity. It seems like a slightly mixed-up venture to me.
I wouldn’t want to pooh-pooh it entirely though. There’s a zippy stock management system in place, whereby your order is madly tapped into a device at the table that beeps approval (or pips an alert if ingredients are unavailable, so you're not too disappointed). Service has moments of supreme efficiency and charisma, although it did take some time for drinks to wander over during our sleepy Saturday lunch.
Speaking of which, I couldn’t detect the rhubarb bitters that attracted me to the Barby 75; a gin and prosecco concoction marred by eye-wateringly sherbety lemon. But the house take on a Bloody Mary – complete with a rasher of bacon as stirrer – was ace, albeit an acquired taste. It was seriously savoury and not unlike necking a hickory-spiced gravy; a hideous thought that was really quite pleasant and pokey in reality (plus I'd bet it’s a solid hangover cure). Wine and beer cost a packet, so beware.
In keeping with the rest of One New Change, the restaurant remains slick and shiny amid the seething, suited mass of city types engulfing it midweek. When the weekend exodus takes place, Barbecoa takes on a slightly ethereal ambience and you can fully appreciate the view of St Pauls. (That is, so long as your seat doesn’t face away from the panoramic windows, as many seem to; a bit of a boob given the premium customers are paying? Worth a mention when booking in order to nab a decent table and avoid a crick in your neck, I reckon).
Will I be going back? I don’t think so. Despite the plum location and snappy décor, I wasn’t sufficiently wowed by any mystic cheffery to pay a small fortune for mains, a side and a cocktail each.