62 Goodge Street

There are three things Tim Luther, owner of the sparklingly new Barrica tapas bar on Goodge Street, isn’t happy with. There isn’t any Spanish-brewed lager on tap yet, his builder didn’t leave enough overhang on the white marble bar and finally, and most importantly, he would like new bar stools. Perching is a little awkward on the current stools, but perch I did, and the friendly staff and delectable food soon put all thoughts of maintaining good posture to the back of my mind. From here we watched the staff scoop silvery sardines and shiny-green olives from the briny depths of large containers onto terracotta plates.

We snacked on a basket of fresh bread along with a small pool of Spanish olive oil, while perusing the single-page food menu. It’s the wine menu that beggars belief, at a length of eight pages. It’s not the 18lb monster from the La Tour d’Argent in Paris but it takes some getting though. It’s perhaps unsurprising given Luther’s background at Albion Wine Shippers (who now supply the bar). Luckily Luther has incorporated some wine suggestions on the food menu and we go for a short glass of La Guita Manzanilla from Jerez (£3.50).

With my palate suitably excited, a small and precise plate of cured meats appeared before me. At £12.00 for 40g of the speciality Jamon Iberico Bellota, it’s lucky it tastes as good as it does. The menu explained that the pigs were feed solely on acorns before they met their end. There was also the Jamon Iberico Cebo (40g for £6.50) and Chorizo Extra Bellota (50g for £3.50), typically salty with an umami sweetness that whetted the appetite. My favourite was the Salchichon Extra Bellota (50g for £3.50), full of marbled fatty goodness. I was so sad to reach the last piece, but quick as you like, the Vegetarian and I were surrounded by plates of goodies. From the charcoal grill, salty Chorizo a la Parrilla (Organic Chorizo £3.95) and slippery Calamar a la Parrilla (squid £7.00). The flesh of the squid, served whole instead of the usual calamari rings, was soft and flavoursome with a squeeze of fresh lemon and crispy garlic chips.

My vegetarian dining partner tucked into the Escalivada (Grilled aubergine, Pepper and Onion £4.50), some stringy Puerro con Romesco (Grilled leek with Romesco £3.50) finished with crushed nuts and the surprisingly popular Remolacha y Almendras (Beetroot and almond dressing £3.80). All dishes were reminiscent of the repertoire of Moro which is no coincidence as chef James Knight hails from their kitchens.

Of the meaty dishes the Vieiras en Manteca de Cerdo (£3.95) was the clear highlight. Soft scallops of bone marrow resting atop toasted bread had a satisfying crunch and a rich, juicy, fatty melt of marrow. The additional advantage of sitting at the bar came when the chef accidentally grilled two batches of rich chocolately Catalan sausage! The only disadvantage was that I watched plates piled high with green Pimientos del Padron (Padron Peppers £4.50) whisked off to other tables. I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

While I perched contentedly, the vegetarian dined on a dessert of vanilla ice cream with Pedro Ximenez Sauce - a bargain at £3.50. The serving of sweet, freckled, hand-made ice cream with a sharp and warm twist of PX is an absolute a must. With a glass of Musa Pedro Ximenez (£3) on the side, it was nothing short of amazing. I settled for a taste of the Villarejo, a Manchego-style cheese peppered with rosemary (£3.50) sliced from huge wedge resting under an impressive bell jar on the counter.

Luther stresses that Barrica is a tapas bar. A place people can come, sip a sherry, nibble and have a good chat against the warm yellow and dark wood interior. He wants customers to be transported Tardis-style to Barcelona though fine food and drink. Barrica wouldn’t be out of place on any Catalan streetscape and the throaty Spanish accents of the staff did much to transport us there too. I highly recommend the trip.

A selection of tapas for two people will set you back by around £50. Food menu items start from as little as £1, whilst sherry and wine can be purchased by the glass.

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Reviewer: Anne Giacomantonio