Barrafina Coal Drops Yard is the fourth in line of these Spanish restaurants by the Harts Group (who also own Quo Vadis and the El Pastor restuarants), which are as revered for their queues as their food. If and when you manage to snag yourself a table, you’ll be richly rewarded with a range of tapas plates that vary from the familiar to the adventurous. You might start with moreish Padron peppers that have been simply charred and sprinkled with olive oil and salt or enjoy a soft-centred tortilla that is crisp on the outside and filled with slivers of fried potato. Elsewhere the menu highlights the kitchen team’s commitment to nose to tail cooking, with pig’s ears, lamb brains and black pudding all featuring.
In the Barrafina signature style the space itself has an industrial feel to it, with exposed brickwork and an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs work in their meticulous and methodical way. For the most part red-upholstered bar stools at the long counter provide the seating for your meal, but there is an outdoor terrace and private dining room at the Coal Drops Yard outpost too. It’s a smart space with a large rectangle table in the centre, heavy green velvet curtains framing a wall-to-wall window and modern glass pendant lighting hanging from the ceiling. With canal views like this it makes the perfect spot to entertain out of town colleagues, friends or family to give them a true taste of North London.
Prices here aren’t cheap, with tapas plates ranging from £3 for bread and olives to £22.80 for lamb chops, but it’s an experience worth paying for. If you haven’t overindulged on the mains the puddings are worth a spin too. The choux based Lionesas with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce should satisfy any sweet tooth, and there is of course a selection of Spanish cheeses to choose from as well.