Home United KingdomLondon Barrafina


by Krista

54 Frith Street

Date of Last Visit: Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Victim: Me

The Damage: Um, £35. I got a little carried away.

The Background: So I've had my muffin and I've taken care of the errands I needed to run. And I just happen to wander past Barrafina and hey, it's 1 p.m. and they've just opened and there are seats available!

Now firstly, I want to talk about this 1 p.m. lunch thing. Again. (I know. I'm sorry.) I just don't get it. Why can't I have lunch at 12? Or 11:30? In America, this is possible everywhere. Not in this country, sadly.

But regardless, I am lucky because it is seriously 1:03 p.m. and Barrafina is almost nearly full except for maybe four seats. And one of them is mine.

The Entrance: They are puzzled that I am alone. Really, just one seat? Is that it? They don't want me to sit in the midst of the empty seats. They want me to sit bang up against the family of four. That's fine. The family of four keeps to themselves. There's no counter banter.

The Food: I order the toast with alioli. (Very nice, although I feel like the toast wasn't freshly toasted. It's almost like they expected a rush and made a lot of toast an hour earlier and now I have some of it.) And then I wait. And I wait and wait. Service today is not of the "let me deliver all your dishes within two minutes of each other" variety. I don't want to eat two slices of toast now though so I sit and continue to wait. And I wait and wait.

And finally, the octopus arrives. With capers. And it's good. But slightly cold. Almost like they made it, but really wanted me to finish my toast before giving it to me. I find this all very odd because the kitchen is right there in front of me. So maybe my octopus has been ready all this time, but they just forgot to give it to me. No bother. It's very nice and I forgive them.

But again, I'm waiting and waiting. I'm done with the octopus. I am NOT done with the toast. But yet they take the toast away from me! I make one of the petulant whiny noises when they do it. "But waaaiiiittt…." They only somewhat apologetically return the toast to me. And I'm left wondering…are they in a rush? Maybe they want me out of here? But still, there's no one waiting really. Odd.

Eventually, my spinach and sultanas and pine nuts arrive. It's pretty darn good, although maybe a little too heavy on the sultanas for my taste. But still, it's sweet and salty and crunchy and I've got my folic acid fix for the day.

The Service: A bit off. Not super-friendly. And I'm still mad at her for taking away my toast.

The Verdict: Good. But I still prefer Fernandez & Wells.

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Gourmet Chick January 20, 2009 - 9:14 am

Shame that you had a bad experience at Barrafina service wise as I loved it. Can’t remember if the service was slow – I think it helps when you are drinking copious amounts of prosecco to fill in the waiting period!

By the way I can’t believe there is actually a place called Muffinski.

Jessica January 21, 2009 - 11:40 pm

That does look like a hell of a lot of sultanas. But you’ve given me a detox-friendly idea to try at home.

Melissa January 25, 2009 - 12:23 am

HA! This is like so many of my London dining experiences! Waitstaff in London ALWAYS try to remove my food/that is not quite finished. It is becoming a major issue for me. (btw, I also am a freak about the tap water factor, extra points for ice or a pitcher on the table!)
I was at Barrafina about a month ago, and noticed that they do strangely let food sit before expediting it — even though it is in plain view of all of the customer. I just don’t get it.

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