Sunday night steak, anyone? Ah, alright then. A couple of weekends ago, we headed to the One New Change centre to check out Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s barbecue restaurant and steakhouse. I put some nice clothes on and everything.
Barbecoa opened in 2010, with the concept of offering up slow-cooked, dry-aged meat. The restaurant’s setting definitely makes an impact – floor to ceiling windows reveal an up-close view of the pretty awe-inspiring St. Paul’s cathedral. We managed to bag a seat facing the cathedral, and with the low lighting and classic bistro decor, I already felt pretty fancy before we’d even ordered anything. When we arrived for our 6pm booking, it was actually pretty quiet – although as the night went on, tables filled up.
Aperitifs aren’t a thing I normally go for. I’m more of a ‘bring me a bottle of wine and get on with it’ kinda girl. However, since we were still feeling a bit fancy with our gorgeous view, I ordered an Old English (£11) to start my meal off with a bang. A mixture of Kamm & Sons, elderflower liqueur, mint, Angostura, soda and prosecco, it was refreshing with a good boozy kick and had me wondering why I don’t do this more often. In the meantime, Conor grabbed himself a ‘Boilermaker’ – a shot of Barbecoa Single Barrel Bourbon and a glass of Freedom beer (£10 for both). Traditionally, the concept of the Boilermaker combines doing a shot of whisky, followed by a ‘chaser’ of beer.
To start our meal, we ordered a plate of Hot Spiced Chicken Wings (£8) with blue cheese sauce and dill pickles. The coating was crisp and definitely spicy, perfect for dipping in the sauce. Well, spreading the sauce on with a knife, because it was messy enough going as it was. And weirdly, I enjoyed the pickles a surprising amount considering they were pretty much garnish. They’re not the best I’ve had but I did enjoy the wings, although if you feel awkward eating with your hands in anywhere fancier than Nandos, maybe try one of the other starters!
A great suggestion for that being the Crispy Calimari (£11) served with yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit) mayonnaise. According to Conor, it was the best calimari he’d ever had – and I think I’d be inclined to agree. Generous, crunchy batter and the perfect consistency squid inside. And the mayo dip was fantastic, with a really satisfying citrus tang.
Because we were going all out, we decided to get the Porterhouse Steak to share (£74/32oz). A porterhouse steak is basically a big ol’ piece of meat, with a T shaped bone in the middle. And this one was biiig. On one side, we had the fillet side, and the other, a steak strip. And both were absolutely delicious. Cooked rare, they were juicy and tender, with just the right amount of seasoning (with good steak, ‘just the right amount’ = ‘not much at all’ for me). We didn’t even need the bearnaise sauce that came with it because the steak was that great, but it was a welcome addition regardless. Seriously, good steak. Very good steak indeed.
Being pretty greedy, we also ordered a dish of the Truffled Mac and Cheese with Gruyère Crumble (£7). Because I basically can’t resist some cheesy mac. Although not as ‘heavy’ on the cheese as I’m used to normally, it was still brilliant – oozy, creamy and moreish. Fun fact: I actually refused to eat mac and cheese for about 10 years because I made a REALLY gross one in school Food Tech classes that made me ill. So now I defo have loads of cheesy catching up to do.
As well as that, we had Beef Dripping Chips (£4), which had a fantastic texture, and Creamed Greens with Crispy Shallots (£4). I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best vegetable side dishes I’ve ever had, the flavours were fantastic. A great dish to dip into while taking a break from working my way through ALL THE STEAK. Oh, and we washed it all down with a glass of Altos Las Hormigas Malbec (£9, 175ml), because obvs red wine and steak is a dream combo.
You know the drill by now. If there’s a chocolate dessert, I’m so totally there. And Barbecoa had a few interesting choc-based options, including a Milky Way and Malt Macaroon and Dark Chocolate and Caramel Sundae. But it was definitely the Snickersphere (£9.50) that caught my attention. The menu was quite sparse in description, just citing ‘peanuts and salted caramel’. I like both of those things, and I like Snickers bars, so it stood to reason that the Snickersphere would be something very much ‘for me’. I was OH. SO. RIGHT.
The sphere (makes sense…) of rich chocolate encased peanut ice cream, salted caramel and whole peanut pieces. Served with honeycomb pieces and vanilla ice cream, it’s basically the equivalent of a Snickers ice cream bar but a lot fancier and tastier. Best ever. Although Conor’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, Tangerine Marmalade and Calvados Ice Cream dish (£8) was also really good, I am 100% officially on Team Snickersphere.
Barbecoa is definitely a little pricier than the eateries I tend to go for on an everyday eating out basis. We ended up spending just under £200 on a proper slap-up three course meal for two including drinks, all the trimmings and service. If you’re wanting to gaze over the St Paul’s view over dinner too but are a bit cash-conscious, the non steak courses come in a little cheaper.Other dishes on the menu include a Dry-Aged Pork Chop with Maple & Bourbon-Roasted Pear dish (£24), and a Smoked and Grilled Chicken with Mexican Rub and Green Chilli Mayo £19. Their Barbecoa To Go outlet also offers up a range of sandwiches and lunch boxes to take away for around a fiver.
For a celebration or special meal out though, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Barbecoa. The views over the cathedral are just such a wonderful setting, the ambience of the restaurant was lovely and the staff were friendly, attentive and welcoming. The food was delicious and well-flavoured; steak perfectly cooked, the mac and cheese was stunning and the Snickersphere will be forever etched in my memory as something I want to have as dessert with every single meal I ever eat again.
Thanks for that, Jamie.
*We were given an allowance towards the meal which paid for part of it – all opinions honest as per!