Having joined the ranks of a number of top restaurants in trendy Coal Drops Yard, Parrillan has some stiff competition, but judging by the steady stream of punters that came and went when we visited, it appears to be holding its own. Whether it’s down to the pleasing views over Regent’s Canal, the menu designed by Barrafina’s Angel Zapata Martin, or the novelty of cooking your own food at the table, the terrace bar and DIY-grill restaurant appears to be thriving.
Of course, the main event is the parrilla, which you can skip straight to if you choose, but we would recommend starting with some small plates, many of which are borrowed from Barrafina’s para picar menu. Bread fans will appreciate the simplicity of toast and aioli, and the fresh sweetness of pan con tomate, while meat eaters will be pleasantly surprised by the generous portion of Iberico ham that tastes as succulent as it looks. If the weather’s nice (it will need to be, given that Parrillan is only partially covered), we highly recommend ordering a glass of Las Fincas Rosado to sip as you nibble.
For us, things turned south when we moved on to the parrilla. This part of the meal should be a fun novelty, but we found it all to be a bit of a faff and a total conversation killer. There’s a good selection of meat and seafood to grill, including fat prawns and scallops, slices of duck breast and 50-day aged beef, but remembering which tongs to use, trying to gauge how long to cook everything, and avoiding spitting marinades resulted in a rather disjointed main course that was sadly underwhelming.
We hoped to pull things back by trying out the cheesecake for dessert, but this too was a let-down. Drenched in honey and served on an olive-wood platter, it looked divine but left our throats burning – a sensation that wasn’t helped by the meat fumes that wafted from nearby tables. While we weren't overly keen on the grilling experience at Parrillan, the service can't be faulted and it's a fun spot for al fresco dining and we'd happily return for drinks and snacks on a sunny evening.