The Barbary

This weekend was all about new favourites.

The team behind Palomar has opened their second restaurant concept in Covent Garden at Neal’s Yard, one of my favourite little spots in the city. For those of you who have not been, its a perfect spot for a date night.

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I’ve had Barbary on my list for a while and finally A and I landed up there on a Saturday evening. Might not have been the best choice of day considering the fact that they don’t take reservations but the vibe, people and the lovely wine definitely transported us to the Barbary Coast.

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We finally got our two seats at a 24 seater kitchen table and I was possibly behaving like a little kid who had been left free to roam in a candy store all night. I literally wanted to try everything on the menu. But before that, I gave myself a bit of history lesson and quickly read up on the food culture and traditions of the Barbary coast which are made up of some beautiful ingredients and some great traditional cooking techniques. The spices, seeds and seasonal fruit and veg seem to define the menu which changes depending on the season of course.

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We got a couple of dips to begin with along with the Moroccan cigars. They were crispy golden spring rolls filled with a delicious sea food mince.

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The baba ghanoush was creamy and velvety with a perfect smoky aubergine flavour
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I lately have got a thing for pickled beetroot and this was even better as it came on a bed of whippy thick yogurt

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The msacabha chickpeas took me down memory lane as they reminded me of the white peas my granny would make when we visited her after school. This would be my staple Friday lunch. A tiny squeeze of lemon and they taste divine

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The fluffy cauliflower charred on the ends and served with this jeweled tomato and herb dressing is an absolute must

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The black salmon dukkah was possibly the best thing on the menu. I couldn’t get enough of it as my fork kept going back to the plate even when the fish was over. The glossy marinade with honey and all the crunchy seeds was something that I would love to recreate in my kitchen

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The salmon gets to feature twice!

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The chicken was juicy tender and A’s most loved dish of the night

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The monkfish skewers was the special for the evening. I love anything that’s cooked on a charcoal grill and this was no exception. The cooking technique seems to bring out the flavour of the meat for me. The skewers were garnished with this citrussy olive oil reduction which added a bit of zing to the fish

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Last but never the least the knafah was ordered to put the sweet tooth to rest. This dessert is as sweet as it can get. The crispy rice noodle cake dipped in honey with a sprinkle of pistachio and a touch of orange brought a swing to my spoon and a satisfied sparkle to my eye

This has got to be your next culinary destination. You can find them here  https://thebarbary.co.uk/

 

 

 

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Gunpowder

While carrying out my usual night time routine, of which Instagram is an important part I came across this small venture near spitalfields market. Gunpowder is the brain child of a young husband and wife team who understand the eating out audience of London. The food is delicious and represents the India and the young Indians of today. The flavours are a melting pot of all the different states of the country and sum up the food journey in just about 12-15 dishes. This one had no curries and no rotis only tapas style sharing plates.

I was most thrilled with the drinks menu as every cocktail sounded divine, mango and chilli bellini and pani puri margarita with crushed puris on the rim. It just doesn’t get better.

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When it comes to drinks A and I have very different choices. He went for the gimlet with honey and lemon and I went for the mango chili Bellini.

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Honestly, the gimlet only sounded half as nice as it tasted and drink-envy led to me having one all to myself.

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We knew we had over ordered as always but who cares when you get a fresh hot crispy aloo tikki topped with yogurt, tamarind chutney and chickpeas. It was lovely however I wouldn’t have minded a tiny bit of spicy green chutney to finish it off.

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Hold on, this one will definitely interrupt the conversation. The okra fries are the best I’ve ever had. The batter was extremely light and perfectly spiced.

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The doughnut filled with spicy venison does catch everyone’s attention. The bhujia as we call it back home did add an interesting texture to the bite.

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The tandoori chicken with a dollop of butter chicken gravy was the showstopper and my favourite

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Actually I couldn’t decide between Ma’s Kashmiri lamb chops and the chicken. The lamb was tender and melted in our mouth.

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Sipping on our cocktails or if I may say chugging away on our drinks and talking about the coffee festival we visited earlier we didn’t realise we were at our last dish of the evening. Aunty sulu’s wild rabbit puloa was scrummy but spicy. Why thank you Aunty Sulu!

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We did need more yogurt than that as the portions were pretty generous.

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See if something else catches your fancy. They do change the menu a bit every 45 days. I missed out on the duck and the Nagaland ribs. Saving something for next time.

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It is a small space so to avoid disappointment plan an early dinner. They do text you when your table is ready but it could take over an hour. Luckily we got there in time and were seated within 20 minutes.

As I said earlier the streets of London never fail to surprise and there was definitely a sparkle about this gunpowder.