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Barrica is the real deal. It looks and feels like a genuine Spanish hangout (classic chequerboard floor, marble-topped bar, hams hanging from the ceiling), it refuses to peddle touristy clichés
and it also eschews the flashy gastronomic strokes of the Iberian new wave. Instead, the emphasis is on no-nonsense traditional tapas designed for the everyday Spanish palate. Nibble on
zanahorias (Seville spiced carrots), white asparagus and pickled aubergines before taking on the likes of char-grilled squid, braised veal cheeks with Pedro Ximénez, or pork and oxtail
albondigas (meatballs). There’s also an enormous selection of artisan cured meats (lomo, cecina, morcilla bellota) and regional cheeses (villarejo, bleu-veined cabrales, semi-soft garrotxa), with
basic sherry-pairing suggestions to match. Reports of service are mixed, although the deliberately laid-back attitude often adds to the charm.
If you want to know how to mix education and practical information in minimal word count, then this list is well worth a look. It takes the uninitiated through everything from sherry styles to grape varieties such as Albariño and Godello in no more than a couple of sentences. Concise, helpful and stuffed full of reasons to try unfamiliar bits of Spain, it’s a wonderfully helpful, compact example of what the modern wine list should be about.
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