Lately I am relaxing a bit about eating out, and I don't always do lots of research about restaurants in advance.
I guess there is a lot more awareness about Coeliacs out there, and also restaurants have to comply with the new EC regulation on disclosing allergens.
Personally I am more confident too about asking all sorts of questions, and specially in London, I know I'm always within reach of a tried and tested restaurant, and that has given me a lot of peace of mind.
It was on one of this 'whatever' days that I found myself eating at Barrafina.
This is a modern tapas bar, with two sites in London, one in Soho (with a Micheling star) and one in Covent Garden, which is the one I visited.
The layout of the restaurant is a long L-shaped bar with fixed stools on one side and the open kitchen and waiters area in the other.
It is great to see what is being cooked in front of you, and definitely gave me many ideas for what to order in future visits.
The staff were very knowledgeable about gluten. The menu is printed on individual paper place mats and as soon as we mentioned our gluten intolerance they clearly crossed off the dishes we could not eat and could not be adapted. That still left plenty of options for us to enjoy.
We settled for a collection of omelettes, as we could not decide which one was more appetizing, some rice, and pintxos morunos (marinated pork on a skewer). I was gazing longingly at the razor clams too, as they looked amazing, although I had just enough space for a pudding.
Clearly a second visit is needed.
To finish, I had the Flan (creme caramel) and my friends a mango sorbet and creme fraiche ice-cream. Although they were all good, the creme fraiche ice-cream was absolutely amazing.
It was a very interactive experience, I don't know if it was because of our food intolerances that we had to keep asking many questions, but the staff were very knowledgeable, checking that we were happy at all times, and it was fantastic to see all those lovely dishes being cooked in front of your eyes.
I guess this venue is better enjoyed in a small group, as the stools cannot be moved. They are also a bit high and I almost had to climb onto mine.
Overall I would be happy to recommend Barrafina as a gluten free dining destination.
I didn't feel unwell at all after eating here, the staff are very knowledgeable about their fantastic food and because it is cooked there and then in front of you there is a chance to change things a bit to suit your intolerances/tastes.
Covent Garden: 10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HZ
Soho: 54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL