The Barbary

Already nominated as Restaurant of the Week in The Evening Standard by David Sexton, The Palomar’s younger sister restaurant The Barbary by siblings Layo and Zoë Paskin, Assaf Granit and Uri Navon has shot on to the dining scene with the same enthusiasm as its older sibling. Where The Palomar brought Euro beats, a walk-in policy (except for the back room which you can book) and unfamiliar Mediterranean dishes to Soho, The Barbary comes with a total no reservations policy (and presumably even longer queues) and food from the Barbary Coast – which to the uninitiated comprises Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya towards Lebanon – only 24 seats and an equally banging soundtrack, to tiny Neal’s Yard.

The Barbary menu reflects the countries from the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel that its name represents, focusing on seasonal dishes and influences from many years of invasion and settlement. Identified by 16th century Europeans as the area settled by the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains, the Barbary Coast was infamous for pirates and (until the beginning of the 20th century) the Barbary Lion. It tells a story of trade, travel and culture, people voyaging along the coast, collecting and sharing ingredients and recipes, gathering influences from areas visited and thus enriching their own culture and heritage. All these countries have rich culinary traditions, exotic products, flavoursome spices and cooking techniques passed down through generations.

You might have to queue to get there but this surely is London’s most interesting new opening and we agree with David Sexton, it’s well worth the wait.

16 Neal’s Yard, London WC2

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