A look at the new Barbecoa restaurant in Piccadilly
Soft mood lighting. Leather chairs. An extensive single malt collection. Your first guess would probably not lead you to the conclusion that you were in a Jamie Oliver restaurant, and it strikes me that that is perhaps entirely the point. Barbecoa, Oliver’s second outing into the “fire-based cooking” marketplace (the first is in St Paul’s) feels like a decidedly grown up affair, and anyone would be forgiven for thinking they had actually walked into a Hawksmoor.
And this is no bad thing. Rightly or wrongly, my disinterest in going to most of the chef’s restaurants is not borne from any justified ordeal, but the expectation that I’ll find its child-friendly nature an infringement on my experience to the benefit of the child’s.
Which is not to say that children aren’t welcomed at Barbecoa, and in the heart of Piccadilly surely the tourist crowd is to be a significant market; but given the feel of the place and the short and to-the-point children’s menu, I can’t help but feel that perhaps we’re meant to take it as a hint that this can be a more grown up restaurant, at least in the evenings.
No expense seems to have been spared and the glass-fronted open kitchen is beautiful, and so it should be to show off a Japanese robata grill, a Spanish mibrasa charcoal oven, a tandoor oven and a Texan smoker, all installed to give as authentic a taste to the various dishes as possible. So if it wasn’t clear already, it’s meat on the menu. There’s a wide selection of steaks and other grilled meats like Smoked and Grilled Poussin and St Louis Ribs. There is even a Coal Roasted Lobster Thermidor but, if that sounds a little too adventurous for you or your wallet at £45, there is also a cold seafood bar serving a range of fresh shellfish.
An all-day operation, the restaurant offers something for just about every time of day, with breakfast, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch and bar snacks all on the menu as well. Coupled with a cocktail list and a surprisingly wide ranging whisky selection, there’s a great deal that looks intriguing about the new Barbecoa. But in exchange for the location, be prepared to pay a price to match.
To book a table at Barbecoa, 194-196 Piccadilly London W1J 9EX, call 0203 005 9666 or visit here.