A Review of Barbecoa, restaurant in New Change, the City of London, London
(No… it’s not South East London, but it’s easily accessible via South Eastern to Cannon Street (south Eastern dependent) so go out and be adventurous.)
It all began with the bread course. This dish definitely deserved the word ‘course’. We had a four course meal, the first course was bread. Three breads to be exact. The first we were told was a naan, but it was like a pancake with sesame seeds. It was lovely, you know, in the way only warm pancakes can be. The malted bread had a solid sweet crust; and the ciabatta was toasted in a robust olive oil. I am sure toasted, not fried, strange as that sounds.
The butter came with salt crystals… Well ok, salt crystals aren’t actually all that practical, but this bread course was about the visuals, sparkling gems scattered on the creamy yellow butter. Mmm creamy yellow butter.
Did you enjoy that? The waiter asked. He mocked us. He laughed at his own joke before we could answer. How could anyone not enjoy it? And we did eat it rather quickly.
My mandarin fizz was lovely, the Campari rounding off the otherwise sharp citrus flavour; but I should have had this as an aperitif; it was not so great with food. I switched to a Rioja. Smoothest I’ve ever tasted.
Starters (the course that comes after the bread course) are definitely more interesting than the mains, but it was the piccalilli that pulled me to the shredded pigs ear… Oops, I mean cheek. I had reservations. I shouldn’t have. Piccalilli perfection- just the right spiciness, the right saltiness of pork shredded into a cake.
The Calamari and avocado (not guacamole, avocado you know) was good too.
Anxious to finish off the rest of the pig (ok, actually I was embarrassed to have pork for both starter and main) I overlooked the various impressive sounding steaks. More often than not, I like something a little more tangy, so the pork featured again. Coleslaw and shredded pork in BBQ sauce (wooweee) and market salad and about 2 chips in duck fat. Two chips was all I could squeeze in and there were better things than chips on the table. Coriander was the ultimate fresh garnish on this flavour feast. Oh, it was so good I came over all alliterative. Market salad is another one of those dishes with a name that just don’t sell it, but was replete with all kinds of fresh leaves and herbs and uncluttered with dressing.
(Incidentally, the dish working so well with coleslaw reminded me of a recipe on the excellent and exciting food stories blog which I have tried to reproduce, got a stomach bug and had to watch my guests tucking in happily with the homemade caraway bread as I held my stomach soulfully and spent the next 4 days losing half a stone).
The interior of Barbecoa seems to have been carefully considered at the architectural point before any restaurant occupied it. St Paul’s Cathedral is visible from almost every side. From the main shopping centre a pathway hides customers from potential customers. Draped sliced black cylinders hang from the ceiling and there is one of those endless wine racks that you always wish your dining room wall slash house is big enough to accommodate.
Dessert? we had to. The first mouthful passion fruit brought with it a Pavlovian disappointment after the would-be-lemon tarts at Mara’s ; but that memory faded as the creamy really genuinely cheesy substance inside kicked in, and then the gooey base. Yes- gooey base. Own up who eats cheese cake for the base, well… A normal base in this cheesecake would have been pipped by the exceptionally cheesy cheese part, but in reality the cheese was pipped again by the base. The caramelising of the pineapple took the edge of what can otherwise be a leetle bit of a hyperactive pineapple taste. And those white scoops nestling on top weren’t ice cream. They were white chocolate swirls.
Please I can’t eat anymore. But I have to.
20 New Change Passage, City of London, Greater London, EC4M 9AG