Barbecoa asked if I'd like to come down and give the restaurant a try, so I was more than happy to oblige.
Barbecoa is one of Jamie Oliver's creations. It's a meat eater's paradise with an in-house butchers and a great mix of steaks and slow-cooked meats. Everything is cooked in its own special way, using a whole host of different methods from bbq pit smokers, to Japanese Robata grills, right through to an Argentine grill.
We visited on a Saturday lunchtime when the restaurant was reasonably quiet. It's situated in the middle of the One New Change development next to St Paul's Cathedral, so tends to be much busier during mid-week when the area's full of city workers.
A lot of the tables have an amazing view of the Cathedral, which is a great backdrop for a lovely meal, although the glass facade can mean it gets a bit hot on sunny days!
After kicking things off with a glass of fizz, we ordered some nibbles while we waited for our mains. Crispy pork scratchings with a grownup ketchup dip, beef short rib croquettes and a portion of the Devil's cornbread.
The scratchings were lovely and crispy and not too greasy and the slow cooked beef inside the croquettes made me do Homer Simpson 'mmmmm' noises. The dip they came with was pretty spicy, something not mentioned on the menu, so if you don't like chilli, then maybe swap for something else. Devil's Cornbread is a very sexy mix of hot cornbread, jalopenos, westcombe cheddar and nduja sausage. It was absolutely to die for - hot, cheesy, salty and delicious. The only warning I'd give is that it is incredibly filling, so you might want to share between more than two people to make sure you have room for everything else!
When it came to mains, we decided to try both sides of the menu. I went for a rump steak, served with white beans and mushrooms and my lunch date had the pit beef with grits. We knew the pit beef would be slow-cooked, but seeing it come out on the bone was a lovely touch and it just melted in the mouth (that'll be down to the 16 hour cook time!).
My steak was lovely and lean, slightly under the medium rare that I asked for, but full of flavour and very tender. The white beans were a bit meh, so I left most of those, instead focusing on the sides we'd ordered as extras.
We got a bit over excited when it came to ordering sides and ended up with four. Oops. Go hard or go home, right? The broccoli with miso was the highlight for me, as was the truffled mac and cheese, which was one of the best I've had for a long time. The creamed greens with crispy shallots was also a tasty treat, if a little bit too rich for my liking. The fries were a bit of a let down - they were dry and lacking in flavour, so we left most of those and focused on the gooey, creamy mac n cheese instead!
We finished off with a Bourbon Peach Tea cocktail each - sweet, fruity but with a nice bourbon twang to it.
Overall the service was great - not too intrusive, but there when you need it and the waitress we had seemed very knowledgeable when we had questions about the menu.
For me, this is definitely a treat meal kind of place. You're looking at around £70 per person for 2 courses and a couple of drinks, but I'd happily go back again for a birthday dinner or special meal. The view really adds to the 'special' feeling of the place, so if you can get a window table, then make the most of it! There are very limited options for vegetarians (I think I saw one veggie main), so it's a spot for the carnivores among you.
Have you tried Barbecoa before?
*we were guests of Barbecoa, honest review as always