Binny and I have been given the name ‘dynamic duo’ by one of her work colleges, Mandy. I think it’s just because we’re always out, being our crazy young selves. Let’s be honest, neither of us are half sane, so I guess the name just stuck.
On Halloween, we went to Mango Tree to celebrate in style, having some pre-dinner halloween themed cocktails. I joked about going to The Barbary after, in hope not many people would be out because of Halloween. We arrived with the expectation of an hour wait at least, especially after it recently appointed Bib Gourmand. However, I think Halloween was on our side. We waited five minutes before getting a lovely corner area for two on the bar. How lucky!
Binny had visited Barbary before so we ordered based on her recommendations, whilst closely watching the chefs at work behind the counter. Especially the way they cooked and made their naan – so talented.
We ordered an array of dishes, which some as soon as they are ready. There is no specific starters and mains, because all of the menu is made up of small plates. The first dish that had arrived was a pretty plate of Baba Ghanoush, which was a mix of aubergine, tahini, oil, herbs and pepper which is garnished with pine nuts. So delicious!
We ate the Baba Ghanoush with the famous Jerusalem Bagel, which is a light bagel shaped bread covered in sesame seeds. Served with a small serving of Za’tar which is a mix of thyme, oregano, basil, salt and sesame seeds. It definitely lived up to the hype, so good.
If the bagel wasn’t enough bread for us, we just had to try the Naan E Barbari. Our inner Indian cannot turn down a good naan, especially when it’s been made fresh in front of you in a a clay oven with coal. Smothered in oily ghee and a drizzling of sea salt. I think this is best and freshest naan i’ve ever had… and i’ve had a lot!
After trying the cauliflower at Foley’s, by ex Parlour chef Mitz Vora, I knew that the cauliflower dish at Parlour’s brother restaurant had to be good and I was right. It was insanely divine. The fact chefs can make something as simple as cauliflower so exciting and flavoursome, it’s pretty amazing! The cauliflower is deep fried, with a side of yoghurt topped with tomato, coriander and lemon – like a vegetable bruschetta.
The lamb chops definitely pulled out all the stops for me. Grilled on a hot charcoal based grill getting the outer layer quite crisp and burnt, with succulently soft meat inside. I’ve never had chops served quite like it before. Especially when you’re not expecting the juicy burst of lemon and spice that comes through with every bite. I’m literally salivating whilst writing this! Not only does it taste phenomenal, but it’s served with a roaring blue flame too, to add to the magic.
However, the last dish was a bit of a let down. The Chicken Msachen was the least aesthetically pleasing dish, was extremely salty (and I love salt on my food) and the chicken pieces were very squishy and fatty. Not the typical chicken breast you would expect. I know a lot of people have loved this dish, so i’m putting it down to them having a bad day. It would have been nice if the waitress took into account and offered to have it remade but instead she just said “it’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it” and took it away.
I was extremely surprised by how filling the dishes were though and we were more full than we expected to be by the end. I had my heart set on trying the halva ice-cream from the start, so I was just going to have to make room!
The Halva Ice-cream was literally the dreamiest thing. I’ve been brought up eating halva when visiting my African family so I was excited to see how they incorporated it into a dessert. Small chunks of soft, sweet and scrumptious halva mixed into creamy, light and refreshing ice-cream.
I would most definitely come back to The Barbary just to have the naan, chops and halva ice-cream all over again. Definitely worth a visit, friends.
Star Rating for The Barbary:
Until next time…