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BARBICAN LIFE


Grill pit in the Barbecoa kitchen


one of the most popular wines on the wine list. We ended the meal with a remarkably good decaf coffee (which has one wondering how good their full strength stuff must be) and a speciality herbal tea. An excellent and very enjoyable meal all round, although a little on the pricey side for what is, in effect, a very upmarket steakhouse, but for location, ambience and the great meat – it could hardly be bettered. Barbecoa’s official address is 20 New


opposite or Madison upstairs! I could at


least manage to hear most of what my companion was saying without her having to shout. But it is obviously the food, and the


quality thereof, which is the key at any restaurant. To get this straight Barbecoa cannot, in any way, be described as a gourmet restaurant with fancy meticulously prepared dishes each one a veritable work of art in its own right. It’s not aimed at that market. It serves full-blooded macho food specialising primarily in steaks and other grilled meats and what it aims to do food- wise it does extremely well. Sourcing


its


own meat from the UK and Ireland and with its own butchery to supervise the hanging and dry-curing of the meat where appropriate it is the taste of well prepared, and well-cooked meat which is its strength. The steaks are far from cheap, but not wildly different in price from similarly-sized fare at say a Gaucho and in my opinion probably better tasting as the meat is of such good quality. The sirloin steak I ordered was one of the best steaks I have had at a restaurant in the UK and my companion was equally complimentary about her fillet – which was served with bone marrow and an excellent smoked béarnaise sauce.


Both were prepared


exactly as ordered. For sides we had the spinach which was excellent, the carrot and swede clapshot, likewise, and Jamie’s duck fat chipped potatoes which were, in all honesty, nothing special. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As a


starter I had the pit-smoked baby back ribs with a coriander and chilli glaze. They were quite something. The meat was deliciously tender – almost melt in the mouth while


26


the glaze gave them a slight kick. Excellent. My dining companion went for large green olives – which turned out to be something I’d not seen before, but she reckoned they were her favourite kind and were extremely difficult to find. I, an olive disliker, even tried one and found it reasonably palatable! But special mention should be made of the bread, which was the nearest thing served to a gourmet restaurant-type presentation. There were four types of bread on a wooden platter and skewered on a vertical pole starting with a delicious nan-type bread with crystals of sea salt, then a type of fried bread, under that being a delicious rye bread with a molasses glazed shiny crust and finally something approaching a more normal sourdough. The bread is prepared on site and served with their own churned butter. It would be a great starter on its own. After the starter and mains we were so


full we couldn’t do justice to the main desserts (which have had some rather mixed reviews elsewhere anyway), but did share a small bowl comprising two scoops of ice cream (dark chocolate and white chocolate) and a scoop of passion fruit and campari sorbet where you could really taste the campari. A restaurant in a high-overhead


building, and with huge sums spent on design and fitting out does not make for a low-cost meal out so be prepared for a bill of upwards of £50-60 a head at Barbecoa – perhaps slightly less if beer is the chosen tipple to go with the food rather than wine, which can be fitting for a barbecue experience. We chose wine and had an excellently smooth Argentinian Malbec at £30 – which apparently turned out to be


Change, City of London, EC4M 9AG, Telephone 020 3005 8555. But to find it one can just enter the One New Change shopping centre, go up one floor by escalator or lift and walk along to the first floor entrance, or there is an entrance off the street opposite St. Paul’s. Reservations may be necessary, although they do accept walk-ins, but there could be a long wait if the restaurant is full. Reservations can be made online at the restaurant website – www.barbecoa.com – where you can also view the menus and wine list.


The


restaurant is open from 11.30 am to 11 pm (last orders officially at 10.45 pm) Monday to Saturday and from noon to 10 pm on a Sunday.


Lawrence Williams R


Rucola – New Italian near St Paul’s


ucola is a newly opened Italian restaurant in Foster Lane, between Cheapside/St Paul’s Cathedral and


Goldsmith’s Hall. The interior is cosy, simple and warm – black chairs, white tablecloths and cream walls. The ground floor seats about thirty people while the upstairs seats thirty five and is a pleasant space for a private dinner on account of the glass ceiling. Olivia and I visit on a Friday evening for


an early supper. We chose a la carte because I love calves liver and Sardinian Head Chef Paolo Cannas (who creates the menu) cooks it perfectly – served on mashed potato and with thin strips of quite crispy bacon on top and garnished with a balsamic reduction (£14). To start I enjoy a very fresh tuna tartare


seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, served on cubes of soft, sweet, creamy avocado and decorated with frisee and balsamic vinegar (£7.50). Olivia chooses buffalo mozzarella with fresh grilled vegetables (courgette,


red and yellow


pepper and aubergine (simple, healthy and delicious) (£7.50) - drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.


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