Review: Sunday Lunch at Barbecoa
Barbecoa is Jamie Oliver's Steakhouse, proudly boasting their unique selection of grills and ovens from around the world for cooking their slow-cooked and dry-aged meat. In fact, I'm led to believe that Barbecoa actually means slow-cooked meat in South American countries like Mexico. Despite the reputation of arguably one of Nation's favourite chefs, Barbecoa has really mixed reviews amongst food-lovers in London.
This was actually my third visit in as many years to Barbecoa, and I've always really enjoyed my meal but there's another reason I come here. I only usually come to Barbecoa when I have relatives visiting London because with a bit of sweet talking to the waiting staff and booking in advance, Barbecoa offers one of my favourite table views in London (aside from the obvious Shard/Heron Tower ones).
I mean, just look at the view from our table!
Now, it's my third visit, obviously the other two times I've not had bad food otherwise I wouldn't have returned. However I did notice this time that it was dramatically quieter than last time I visited - we arrived on Sunday at 2pm, it was dead, and I mean dead... Perfect for us because we got one of the best seats in the house, very attentive service and took our sweet time, but it does make me wonder if I've just been very lucky with my visits so far! I can't be 100% but I did think the price had dropped slightly too since my visit last year, but that's unsurprising based on how empty it was for a Sunday roast.
So on to the food... I really enjoyed my meal. We ordered a £26 bottle of Grenache/Syrah which although a bit harsh without food, tasted nice with the meal. We started with the "nibbles" of duck croquettes with plum sauce and orange, which were very meaty and crispy on the outside. You definitely needed the plum sauce and orange as they'd have been quite rich and dense on their own.
We'd gone there for a Sunday Roast but it's worth noting that the A La Carte is also available on a Sunday too. The do two courses for £27 or you can make it three (which obviously, being the little piggy that I am... I did) for £32. They have three options for the roast which change weekly.
Only two of us went for starters - I chose the calamari with ginger, chilli and lime which was cooked well, not chewy at all and delicious with the lime squeezed all over it which added a nice twist instead of the usual lemon.
Paul had the buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing. We eat a lot of wings at street food places and buffalo ones are our favourites, so when he ordered them I wasn't sure how they'd stack up against the likes of the Thunderbird and Bird. To my surprise he said that naturally they weren't quite as good but that they did compare, which is more than I thought they would.
For the main roast, I had the dry-aged sirloin steak with watercress, horseradish and pickled walnuts as did my Mum, Paul chose the slow-cooked pork loin and belly. The other option was chicken, so it's not somewhere to bring a veggie if they're expecting to eat a roast too.
I've got to say that mine was delicious, the beef was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth with barely any effort of chewing required. The yorkshire puddings were impressively large and crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy inside. Both the beef and vegetables were a generous portion and more than enough for me. My only complaint was that the large portion of horseradish was put on top of my beef - I would have preferred it on the side as the beef had a delicious flavour which I wanted to taste rather than the horseradish so I scraped it off. Overall, one of the best roasts I've had in a while.
The pork belly came with a whole baked apple, sage, and of course the all-important crackling and Paul said it was juicy and flavoursome. The vegetables came in a shared dish for the table and there was plenty for everyone to share.
Two of us had desserts. Dessert has always been impressive and my favourite part of my last two visits to Barbecoa so I was looking forward to it and it did not disappoint.
I obviously chose the most chocolatey dessert on the menu which was a brownie with pecans, candy floss and raspberry sorbet. The brownie was lovely and rich and the raspberry sorbet and coulis it came with was sharp enough to cut through it, for me the candy floss didn't really add anything but it did look pretty on the plate.
The other dessert on our table was a work of art - it looked (almost) too pretty to eat but I'm assured that it tasted as good as it looked. It was an interesting combination of flavours - a crème brûlée with nectarine, lemon balm, pink peppercorns and ginger meringue.
The meal came to £135 for 3 of us including the bottle of wine, nibbles, two 2 course meals, one three course meal, a coffee and service, which I thought was good value. Based on the experiences I've had, I'd happily return for a roast at Barbecoa - I've definitely preferred the roast when I've been compared to when I went for weeknight dinner. It's one of those places that's nice to take someone visiting the city if you want somewhere with a view but don't want to break the bank.
Although it calls itself a Steakhouse, and the meat is very good, I'm not sure how it would compare to somewhere like a Hawksmoor or Goodman if you went just for steak and I'd be interested to see how the famous Hawksmoor roast compares since I've heard such amazing things about it!
Madison upstairs was closed for a private do afterwards, but I strongly suggest heading upstairs for a cocktail if you've got nice weather and a visitor to London with you to show them another great view of St Paul's.
Nearest station: St Paul's