Review of 'Barbecoa (NOW CLOSED)'

Ever since it was announced that Jamie Oliver would be opening a restaurant as a joint venture with American barbecue maestro Adam Perry Lang in the new, at the time, “One New Change” shopping complex beside St. Pauls I have wanted to visit. Given that I work just around the corner and that I am a fan of other Oliver restaurants I have been to the only thing that held me back was the cost…Even now it sort of takes my breath away for what I have always seen as a bit of a rib and steak place with mains I would be interested in beginning at about £34 (sirloin steak) without a lot in the way of included extras. But, when Time Out recently offered up a visit to Barbecoa for a “Sunday Roast” (two courses, with all the trimmings and a glass of prosecco) for £30 I could not pass it up…(note that they do also offer “Sunday Roast” on their normal menu as well, this was just an extra special price).

Barbecoa is located on the first floor of “One New Change” and, famously, is exactly opposite Gordon Ramsey's “Bread Street Kitchen” (see my review here) which opened shortly after Barbecoa as a bit of healthy rivalry between the two chefs. They also have a butcher on the ground floor where you can take some of their wonderful meat home with you.

Showing up at 1pm on a Sunday we were a bit early for the rush so were shown a seat by a window looking out to the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral which surely has to be one of the attractions of this location.

View from my seat

Given our set menu we were also shown the a la carte from which we chose a few “nibbles”: “Pork Scratchings” (£5) served with “Barbecoa Apple Ketchup”, and “Short Rib Croquettes” (£5) served with “kimchi mayo”.

Nibbles

The scratchings were served cool and we found them extremely tough with not a lot of flavour even though it was obvious there was some spicy seasoning on them. Our jaws were very sore after this one. The croquettes, on the other hand, were served as three balls on individual blobs of orange sauce that what we immediately thought of as the notorious American “Cheese-Whiz” product but on tasting this view was completely set aside - A light cheesy sauce that really complimented the strong flavour of the croquettes. Delicious.

From the set menu, I chose the “Smoked Belly of Saddle-Back Pork” which came with a splash of their “Bacon Ketchup”.

My Main

“All the trimmings” included a flat slate tile topped with “Wood Fire-Roasted Seasonal Vegetables”, “Beef-Dripping Potatoes”, red wine jus, Yorkshire puddings, and cauliflower & cheese. Wow. An enormous amount of food even given that I was sharing the trimmings with my dining companion who had chosen the brisket steak. The pork was a generous portion (as was the steak) and cooked perfectly - Moist and delicious, curled up in the middle of my plate. My companion's beef was delicious with a wonderful char-grilled taste (though there was a bit of gristle).

Sides

The “trimmings” were absolutely incredible: Massive Yorkshire puddings, delicious grilled seasonable vegetables (heritage carrots in our case), crispy and fluffy potatoes but the highlight for me was the revelation of the cauliflower & cheese that stole the show. It was also grilled and had crushed almonds in it. Absolutely wonderful. Not amazingly strong flavours, but really delicious. The jus was “ok” but not really a strong flavour and quite watery so it quickly soaked the Yorkshire pudding.

After managing to make it through the mains we were not really in a hurry for desert but made some room anyway. My companion had the “Barbecoa Brownie” (served with “Cherry-Ripple Ice Cream, and Poached Cherries”) which we were told is the absolute favourite of diners and has never left their menu.

Chocolate Brownie

The brownie was over the top sweet and gooey with three distinct layers: Brownie on the bottom topped with chocolate ganache and a chocolate icing. I had a tasting spoonful and that was enough for me really…way too rich. It was decidedly for those that like dark chocolate - Don't expect the sweetness of milk chocolate here.

I decided to try something different (mostly so we could try a bit of each desert on offer) and had the “Elder Flower & Gooseberry Cheesecake with Rye Crumble, Milk Ice Cream, Marshmallow Biscuit” where the cheesecake was deconstructed and served in a small glass in layers…very pretty along with a separate biscuit sandwich with a marshmallow filing.

Elder Flower & Gooseberry Cheesecake

The cheesecake was surprisingly tart (for a desert) but delicious with the lovely crumble topping really stealing this show. Very tasty.

As far as service and facilities are concerned: The toilets were ultra-modern but quite dark. The view is amazing. We found the ambiance quite nice and not too noisy which is refreshing with the lack of soft furnishings. The staff were very friendly and genuinely pleased to receive compliments - Perhaps they are not used to it with the businessman trade they normally do.

We really enjoyed our visit and despite a few minor quibbles would definitely not mind revisiting…though perhaps not too soon as we are still resting our stomachs from so much food a day later (I think the a la carte menu portions are not so big)…I am not so sure it as expensive as I had been thinking before visiting so I think I have to take that back - Worth the money in any case.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-07-03


Cuisine: American/British

Address: 20 NEW CHANGE PASSAGE LONDON, EC4M 9AG

Public Transport: TUBE St Paul's TUBE Mansion House

Location: London (England) - Bank

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Telephone: +44 20 3005 8555

URL: http://www.barbecoa.com/