I'll start by saying, and it'll likely come as no surprise to hear, that I absolutely loved it. There are many dishes that were familiar to me from the menu at Barrafina, but they offer a significantly extended menu here, owing to the fact that they have a much larger space and therefore kitchen.
Here's some of what I've tried:-
Croquetas - piquillo (£3) and jamon (£3.50). I LOVE these so much, always order loads.
Chorizo tortilla with aliolo (£7.40). Amazing, oozing centre and garlicky mayo topping.
Pan con tomate (£1.90 each) - needed more salt to match the Barrafina greatness
Scallop with parsnip puree, almonds and chilli oil (£8) - this was brilliant, perfectly cooked, lovely flavour and texture combination.
Arroz negro (£8.90) - nicely presented, love a mini copper pot, with great inky squid flavour.
Pig cheek with parsnip puree and crispy parsnip (£9.80) - this was Art's but I had a taste and it was as tender as you'd expect with that same smooth parsnip puree, also served with the scallop.
Pork belly (£12.80) - I had this on both visits, it's incredible. Must pre order the suckling pig for next visit. Pictured with patatas brava (£4.50)
Crab empanadilla from the daily specials (£12.40) - this was hot! Tomatoey crab filled the flaky pastry, it didn't blow me away. Highlight was the lemon dressed celery salad that came with it.
Also from the specials Acorn fed duck breast with celeriac puree (£11.40). This was nice but could have done with more puree.
I've also tried the Santiago tart, which, to my disappointment, was very orangey (I'm not a fan of orange flavoured puds) and the donuts with vanilla ice cream. I'm also not a doughnut fan, though I confess I haven't tried the St John versions yet!
We did a decent job with the red wine and sherry and despite not being able to remember which I tried, I can say with certainty that they were excellent.
There's little else to say really, I've arrived early evening, and also rather late and had no trouble getting a table, or a place at the bar. On one occasion, they happily accommodated 5 of us, without reservation. The service is lovely, the food, quite brilliant and I shall definitely return regularly and you don't even have to queue.
It's really not cheap, I've spent around £50 a head on each meal I've had here, but both times, ordered liberally and drank a lot. My one negative point would be that the room is a little soulless. It's below ground and therefore pretty dark, oen of my companions likened it acoustically to a canteen, ouch. Still, this won't put me off, the standard of the cooking makes it more than tolerable.
33 Charlotte Street