194 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EX barbecoa.com
Barbecoa Piccadilly is Jamie Oliver’s original Barbecoa restaurant reimagined
The design is influenced by the building’s unique heritage with a beautiful wood-panelled bar, a dining room reached by a sweeping marble staircase and a glass-fronted cellar with a collection of over 2,500 wines.
The food lives up to the lavish décor. The pork scratchings from the ‘nibbles’ section of the menu are wonderfully crisp and salty. These are served with Barbecoa’s sweet, tangy and sharp apple ketchup that will leave you wanting more.
Try these with one of Barbecoa’s fantastic cocktails, for example a long and refreshing boulevard spritz or a sour club fizz. When they ask you if you would like it made at the table, say yes as the theatre and knowledge of Barbecoa’s bartenders is fantastic and you are definitely guaranteed a show.
The starter of stone bass and scallop ceviche served with ruby grapefruit, fennel and red chilli is soft and melts in your mouth. The seasoning, level of refinement and delicacy of the dish isn't something you would expect from a steakhouse.
Alternatively, the salmon served with sea lettuce and horseradish crème fraiche is a dish second only to the ceviche. The salmon has a gentle flavour and is perfectly cured and the little balls of salty British caviar that top the dish pop in your mouth.
As well as being home to an impressive five different grills in the kitchen – which you can see in action through huge glass windows – Barbecoa also hosts an impressive cold bar, even if it is hidden right at the back of the restaurant.
I love oysters, and eat them at every occasion I can, but the half-dozen oysters Barbecoa serve didn’t blow me away. You can’t beat an oyster simply served with a hot sauce, for example Barbecoa’s homemade hot sauce, or shallots in vinegar. However, out of the half-dozen there were only three served this way, and three dressed with jalapeno peppers and parsley - in my opinion a bit unnecessary.
When you first walk into Barbecoa, you can’t help but notice a large cabinet stocked with a huge range of aged meats and, as I’m sure they say, when at a steak restaurant, eat steak – and what better cut of steak is there to share with a friend than chateaubriand?
I like my steak pretty rare – some would say still mooing – and this one did not disappoint. The outside of the steak was almost-toffee like with caramelisation and topped with a rich and indulgent truffle butter.
The creamed spinach side at least tricks you into thinking you’re being healthy, and the devil’s cornbread with Westcombe cheddar and ‘Nduja sausage is cheesy and rich.
Even if after all that you feel like you can’t eat another morsel, I beg you to try the Snickersphere. This dessert combines layers of peanuts with salted caramel and a smooth and creamy mousse, all encased in a rich chocolate shell and served with a scrumptious ice cream. We had one to share and I definitely regretted not eating one to myself, or asking for a box of them to take away.
What really made our night was the service. Our waitress was funny, knowledgeable and engaging – this, when combined with good food, equals the perfect formula.
There is no denying I didn’t expect too much from Barbecoa because of its touristy location, but we managed to pass four hours dining there without realising it. If you’re looking for a fun night out for a special occasion, Barbecoa is the place to go.
Photos from Barbecoa website