The space: Isn't as it first seems. Enter on the ground floor, and you'll feel like you're in the restaurant, but you're actually just in the restaurant's large bar. You'll quickly forget it though when you head down a big sweeping staircase that leads to the actual restaurant. Both spaces feel far too big - in fact the
dining room downstairs is the largest dining room we can ever remember seeing
in a London restaurant.
It’s a whopping great rectangular room that could only feel
atmospheric when full, which for its size, is just unrealistic. We ask our waiter whether he's seen it full. He says he has once, on opening weekend.
When Culture Whisper go there’s maybe ten or fifteen tables in, but because the room is so sparse, it feels as though we’ve missed the party. The room is decked out with curved leather
banquettes, huge statement chandeliers, and the walls are tiled. It’s a
mish-mash of Roaring Twenties opulence that looks nice but feels overstated.
The dining room downstairs at Barbecoa Piccadilly
The food and drink:
The menu is large like the dining room, but far less surprising. It kicks from
breakfast through to afternoon tea, and then there’s late-night cocktails, and
the requisite raw bar, but we ate from the main a La Carte menu for dinner. Everything is cooked on some form of smoker, or
over flames – robata, Tandoor, charcoal, to name a few – and all sizzle and
spit from a theatrical, if rather OTT, open kitchen. For starters, a plate of
smoked duck with rhubarb, hazelnuts and bitter leaves was overdone, presumably the lightly cooked duck should have found harmony with the creamy hazelnut, but a cured
salmon with horseradish, crème fraiche and caviar turned out to be much better.
The mains, a predictable onslaught of ribs, chops and whole
meat cuts, plays it safe and we share a Porterhouse for two. The meat is
tender and attentively cooked, although the frites that arrived with it were dismally
chewy and lifeless.
Wine was well-paired from an enthusiastic sommelier who was keen to let us know that wine tasting is available for private events. First we enjoyed cocktails from the upstairs bar, until we noticed the £19 price tag on the negroni which is £5 more than it should be at London’s
Would we return? Barbecoa Piccadilly feels purpose built to serve as many Jamie Oliver fans as is possible in any one night, but this mighty machine falters and is inconsistent.
|What||Barbecoa review, Piccadilly|
|Where||194 Piccadilly, W1J 9EX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
On 13 Feb 17, Mon - Thurs: 7am - 11pm, Fri: 7am - midnight, Sat: 8am - midnight, Sun: 8am - 10.30pm
|Website||Visit Barbecoa's website to book a table|