Barbecoa: Restaurant Review

From the many posts about the diet we have been on,  you’ll probably know it was a very special treat for us indeed to go out to a restaurant for dinner without being TOO restricted in what we were eating.

We made the most of the special occasion to celebrate C’s birthday (and the fact we’re coming out the other side of this diet now) and took ourselves along to Barbecoa last night.

By ‘too restricted’, I mean that I am still not able to have gluten and we’re not meant to have too much sugar yet so we weren’t completely naughty, but we did have some sugar… it was his birthday, after all!

Set against the backdrop of a stunning view of St Paul’s cathedral, Barbecoa is stylish, welcoming, interesting and atmospheric. It feels like a posh restaurant without being stiff, pretentious and unfriendly as can often be the case with those white-linen-clad dining rooms.

Already fans of some of Jamie Oliver’s other places (Jamie’s Italian, Union Jacks), his shows/cookbooks, and having heard of Barbecoa’s virtues from work colleagues, we were expecting it to be a nice night out with delicious food and we weren’t disappointed.

Ever since we first went to Jamie’s Italian and had the olives there, C has been raving about how good they were, so we were pleased when our olives came out that they appeared to be from the same supplier.

While we devoured our olives, we deliberated long and hard on the menu in terms of our starters and mains because it all looked so good. In the end, we settled on Crispy Pig Cheeks with Piccalilli, Chive and Lambs Lettuce Salad (for him) and Scallop Ceviche with Grapefruit, Pink Peppercorn, Fennel & Jalepeno (for her).

I was well pleased with my choice – both light and full of flavour ahead of the heavy steak I’d ordered for main. The beautifully presented dish tasted as good as it looked – the sweetness of the grapefruit, matched with the ‘spicyness’ of the jalepenos and the texture of the scallops was a delight to my taste buds. I can’t speak for C’s meal but he did say his starter was faultless.

For mains we had Dry-Aged T-Bone Steak with Charred Red Chicory and Balsamic Dressing (for him) and Dry-Aged Sirloin Steak with Bourbon Green Peppercorn Sauce and Sticky Roasted Red Onions (for her). The steak was perfectly cooked, no fat on the cut and flavoursome. You would expect so at those prices, but for someone who doesn’t usually go for a big cut of steak as a meal, it was absolutely mouth-watering. I will be dreaming of that steak for years to come.

We shared some sides of Wood Oven Roast Mushrooms, Duck Fat Chips and Coleslaw with Caraway and Fennel seeds, which complemented the mains perfectly.

We matched our meals with a lovely bottle of Cote Du Rhone from the extensive wine list and even though we were absolutely STUFFED to the gills by the time we’d finished our mains, as it was a special treat and the boy was living it up, we decided to have dessert on top of it all…Banoffee Cheesecake (for him) and The Ultimate Chocolate Sundae (for her). I am ashamed to admit that I did actually finish all that food but I have to tell you, I was in extreme pain on our way home from being so full and was still full when I woke up this morning! But, if that’s the biggest complaint you have after going out for a celebration meal then you’re on a pretty good run.

We were served by a lovely waiter who was helpful without being imposing, knew his menu well and looked after our table the whole night rather than tag-teaming with other people. The service was timely, ordered and sophisticated. Just the way we like it!

I was impressed by the fact that there were really only 3-4 things on the entire menu that I had to steer clear of to avoid gluten which made life easier for me, although harder in terms of making a decision!

Indulgent, mouth-watering, great atmosphere, amazing view over St. Paul’s, more-ish wine, and excellent service – all these words/phrases pretty much sum up our experience. We went home happy, full and feeling slightly on the guilty side (because of how much we indulged).

It’s expensive, and you do have to like meat to eat there, but it is well and truly worth it as a special treat and the prices are justified. Highly Recommend!

(In our haste to get our food from the plate into our bellies we neglected to take pictures of each course so unfortunately I can’t show you how good it all looked!)


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