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There are now two branches of Barrafina in Covent Garden, though neither takes bookings (if this one is packed try your luck at Drury Lane). Following in the footsteps of Sam and Eddie Hart’s Michelin-starred original in Soho, the action takes place in an open kitchen behind a marble-topped counter. “Watching the chefs at work, taking in the buzz of the place, I could be back in Valencia!” exclaims one reader. “Extremely enthusiastic” staff deliver standout Spanish wines to go with dishes that offer “an explosion of flavour”: generic Barrafina staples such as pan con tomate, creamy tortilla and Padrón peppers share the billing with brilliant signature specialities including herb-crusted rabbit shoulder, melting Iberian pork ribs from the Josper grill, and luscious arroz de marisco (rich and spicy seafood rice, topped with soft swirls of squid). Regulars get most excited about the daily blackboard specials though: “the razor clams and Mozambique prawns are a must when they're available”, recommends one fan. Put simply, dining at Barrafina is a “wonderful experience”.
The Hart Brothers’ wine list is suitably compact and no-nonsense. A dozen whites, 12 reds, a rosé, three cavas and six sherries is your lot. But nearly all the wines are available by the glass, and for such a short list there’s an impressive mix of ‘safe’ and ‘cutting-edge Spanish’, particularly in the whites. Clear, accurate, supremely easy to navigate and spot-on for its purpose.
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