I have had three guests on my FAST FOOD series that have said that The Barbary is one of their favourite restaurants in London. I have tried to venture over to Covent Garden a few times but have been unsuccessful until my birthday this December. I loved the owner’s other place Palomar in Soho which is a beautiful fusion of Jerusalem and Spanish sharing plates teamed with a marble top oyster bar. They also play great tunes because one of the owners is Layo from DJ duo Layo & Bushwacker. The second venture Barbary offers modern Moroccan dishes in an intimate 20 cover restaurant just off Neal’s Yard. You can book half the spaces and then the rest are subject to walk-ins. I went for lunch on a Wednesday at 11.45am (it opens at 12) and there was already a few people in front of me. We got the last 3 walk-ins and after it was an hour wait. If you are focused on getting there with enough time to spare then it should be fine and for the booking system it must be a couple of weeks ahead.
The service is impeccable and friendly. The small, packed room means that it is cosy and the open-plan kitchen creates a buzzing atmosphere. We had a mixed bag from the ever-changing seasonal menu including: pretzels, buttery naan to dip into celeriac hummus, baba ghanoush, whole roast spiced cauliflower, charred sprouts with yoghurt and mint, black salmon dukkah. We also had a glass of a delicious chilled sparkling red wine.
I loved it but I think I would go for dinner next time which I’m sure would be a bit more vibey.
16 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP