Review: The Barbary, Seven Dials, London

Despite being back to working in London full time, I'm still a little out of the loop with all the new restaurant openings. There's just so many each week so I'm always thankful to friends who suggest new places to feed our faces. This time Sarah suggested a visit to The Barbary. Inspired by the North African coast, the sister restaurant of Palamor offers a menu filled with influences of the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea. The tiny venue probably only seats around 30 people, all huddled around a bustling open kitchen.

Eager to try most of the things on the sharing menu, we ordered a feast. Starting with a chewy, sesame seed topped bagel and a crispy butter naan, we decided to go for a selection of dips. Addictive aubergine Baba Ghanoush, sweet Tbecha roasted tomatoes and a mountain of creamy Msabacha chickpeas. The dips were fresh and flavoursome, providing the perfect introduction to the menu. The charred jafa style cauliflower and cumin and chilli glazed beetroot were cooked to perfection with the perfect amount of crunch to keep them interesting.

For the main courses we opted for all the meat and fish courses. The signature dish of Pata Negra Neck (pork neck) came with a drizzle of a sweet honey sauce, roasted garlic cloves and a sprinkle of sea salt. It was such a simple dish but packed a hell of a punch. The surprising sweet sauce was a great accompaniment for the charcoaled pork. The octopus mashawshad came with the same chickpeas as before. It was delicious if a little overpriced for the portion size. Finally we sampled the North African style veal schnitzel from the weekly specials menu. I enjoy schnitzel but it's always seemed a little boring to me. But thankfully this version came with a delicious thick creamy sauce.

For dessert I opted for the Knafeh. With a similar texture to a Baklava, this savoury dessert consisted of fried vermicelli with a goats cheese filling topped with pistachios and a few raspberries. Something I'd not sure I'd plump for again but nevertheless something I enjoyed. Sometimes it's good to try something out of the ordinary!

All in all, the meal at The Barbary was incredible. I was mesmerised by the open kitchen, loved the intimate venue and really enjoyed the food. You can't book so I would recommend turning up at 12 like we did to ensure you get a table. Keep in mind they will only sit a party when everyone has arrived - no saving seats! It's certainly not cheap and thanks to the sharing concept, the prices can soon add up. The portions are quite small so you do have to order quite a lot. We shared everything between three yet still left a little hungry afterwards. But if you can afford to splash out, add it to the top of your restaurant list.


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