I love Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, and I’m a fan of Jamie’s Italian, but I’d not tried his steakhouse Barbecoa, located next to St Paul’s. So when Sam and I had the opportunity to go, I leapt at the chance. The whole idea of Barbecoa is its focus on dry-ageing, free range and organic produce, with everything either delightfully smoked or cooked over fire. They also have one of the biggest whisky collections around, and there’s a £5 cocktail hour from 5-8pm.
First things first, we opted for the magnificent cocktail deal that Barbecoa offers. There are few places in Central London where you can get a killer cocktail for £5. If you’re on a budget, I recommend going just for cocktails. I had the Club Fizz which was London Dry Gin, raspberry and grapefruit cordial, egg white, lemon, and soda. Sam had the smoked margarita with tequila, black cardamom syrup, and lime. The Club Fizz was so infinitely drinkable. Almost worryingly so. It is quite sweet, but it goes down so smoothly. The smoked margarita has less of a citric bite than other margaritas, but that allows the smokiness to really shine.
We started with the sourdough bread and veal butter (£5). We also opted for the burrata with peaches, smoked almonds, apple balsamic, Cornish leaves (£9). This dish was one of the stars of the meal for me. It’s something that Sam would have never ordered on his own (he tends to not like fruit in savoury dishes) but this was perfection. The peaches added just the right amount of zing to the burrata which was just a ball of creamy, cheesy heaven.
Then we ordered another round of cocktails because we were still in the happy hour. This time I tried the Coming Up Roses with vodka, rose liqueur, lemon, cranberry and sugar; whilst Sam had the Root Julep with bourbon, Fernet Branca, mint, and a root beer reduction. The Coming Up Roses felt a bit stronger than the Club Fizz, but it wasn’t quite as sweet. Honestly, I’d have either of them again in the blink of an eye. The Root Julep had a bit too much of a kick for my taste.
For mains we split the Chateaubriand For Two with Truffle Butter (£75) and had sides of heritage tomatoes in shallot, flower vinegar dressing (£5); beef-dripping chips in Volpaia vinegar, Cornish salt (£4); and charred broccoli topped with Miso and almonds (£4). The Chateaubriand was cooked perfectly – medium rare but not too bloody. It was almost silky smooth. The meat was tenderised so perfectly that it just dissolved in your mouth. Basically, a true joy to eat! The heritage tomatoes were packed with flavour but the charred broccoli was the King of the Sides. Honestly, it was the best broccoli dish I’d ever had in my entire life. Creamy, salty, a bit charred – if all broccoli tasted like that, I’d only ever eat broccoli. The chips were the most disappointing aspect of the meal: fine, but nothing special. In my opinion, they weren’t cooked enough, but I prefer my chips as crunchy as possible. (Which is why I tend to avoid chip shop chips.)
I was almost exploding out of my chair by this point in time so Sam and I opted to split a dessert: the Snickersphere with peanuts, and salted caramel (£9.50). The chocolate dome had a creamy mousse filling with a crunchy inner layer, all on top of a chocolate biscuit and surrounded by peanuts. It was tasty. But a tad overpriced for what it was. Though it did remind me of some really good entremet that I’ve had in the past.
The service was exceptional. Servers were being super attentive to everyone (not just our table), and were full of great recommendations, good banter and genuine nice hospitality. Plus the view out the window on the sunset behind St Paul’s Cathedral was to die for. This might be a bit of a splurge, but as a special date night or a romantic meal it has the perfect ambiance.
A wall of wine!
You really can’t beat Barbecoa’s view.
The Club Fizz and Smoked Margarita.
Sourdough with veal butter.
The extremely tasty burrata.
The Root Julep and the Coming Up Roses.
St Paul’s might look even more glorious as the sun is setting!
Barbecoa is located at 20 New Change Passage, London, EC4M 9AG TEL: 020 3005 8555
Barbecoa is more pricey than Jamie’s other restaurants, but for a special occasion (or a cocktail hour), it’s totally worth your while. I loved the food and I loved the views.
Have you visited Barbecoa?
***Our meal was complimentary in exchange for a review; but, as always, my opinions are solely my own.****