Only the queue is cause for complaint at this gem on Neal’s Yard. But you can see why people are so desperate for a table at The Barbary, sister restaurant to equally well-received The Palomar. After tasting the octopus, with its pomegranate molasses and lemon chickpea accompaniments, and the lamb cutlet, we’d happily snake around the block in the drizzle. And queue you must, because there are only 24 covers, all arranged around a central horseshoe bar, behind which the chefs work on food that focuses on the cuisine of the Barbary Coast (the flank of Africa north of the Sahara, encompassing Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, in case your geography falls short).
The Barbary is the sister restaurant to one of my favourites, The Palomar, on Rupert Street. It takes its inspiration from the Barbary Coast with a menu that reflects the culinary traditions of the Atlantic Coast, down to the Mediterranean Sea and on to Israel. It pays to arrive early to avoid a wait. However, once seated at the counter tasting their simply delicious food, you will thank the food gods that brought head chef Eyal Jagermann and his extraordinary culinary team to you.
Having been a big fan of The Palomar since it opened – and always searching for my fix of Israeli food – I was really looking forward to going to The Barbary when it opened in Neal’s Yard. Two things were just so good I would go back for them alone: the Ashkenazi-style chicken liver and the pickles. I thought I was at my grandmother’s home eating her chicken liver – I was blown away! The lamb chops were also stellar. I would go back in a heartbeat. I will go back in a heartbeat!