I made a flying visit to London for a meeting on Friday, in and out in barely more than a couple of hours. I just managed to squeeze in a quick lunch at Barrica, and am very glad that I did.
Goodge Street is a lively spot at lunchtimes, buzzing with people eating at one of numerous restaurants, cafés and even a few street food stalls in Goodge Place. I was in the mood for a tapas fix, and Barrica is one of two well regarded places serving Spanish food on the street (the other being Salt Yard). I chose Barrica because it seemed to be the more casual of the two. It's a proper tapas bar, rather than just a restaurant serving tapas, with stools available at a long, marble bar counter where you could perch happily with a glass of something cold and a few olives.
This is exactly what I did, kicking things off with some very good olives and a glass of bone dry Colosia fino sherry.
Next came clams, girolle mushrooms and peas cooked in fino sherry. This was a great dish, the clams and girolles having similar textures, soft but slightly chewy but complementary and contrasting tastes. The clams sweet and fresh, the girolles deeply savoury and earthy.
Cow's curd cheese, broad beans, tomatoes and mint was all about delicate summery flavours. Mild, milky cheese, sweet beans, fragrant mint. Really refreshing on a warm day.
Ham croquetas were available in portions of two, so I had to have a couple. Can't be going for tapas and not having anything with pig in it. They were greaseless and tasty, but could have done with more ham in the mix.
Rustic, chewy bread was perfect for mopping up. Possibly the most pleasurable part of a tapas meal is scooping up delicious oily juices from the terracotta crockery. I could do this all day, consuming loaves in industrial quantities.
A very good lunch, service was also good. Professional and unpretentious. The bill was just under £22 including 12.5% service added automatically. Not a practice I'm fond of, but pretty much standard practice in London. A minor quibble, because here they earned it.
62 Goodge Street