Barbecoa is Jamie Oliver’s meaty venture located in One New Change mall (next to St Paul’s Cathedral) on the first floor on one side overlooking Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen (I always find this so cool and strange at the same time) and on the other side overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral (if you don’t know whether to go to Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey, go to Jamie just for the view of St Paul’s, it's great!). Barbecoa is supposed to be the UK’s first barbecue steakhouse, I was a bit confused when I read what what this means exactly, but apparently this means all their meat is cooked traditionally using ancient methods, in wood fired ovens and smokers, or over the flames of open fire pits. So far it all sounds amazing, but unfortunately I just could not see the great concept in action when I went there with my friend Talib. The menu is on an A4 piece of paper and includes nibbles, starters and main courses. When we arrived Talib and I ordered 2 nibbles, big green olives on ice, and the bread board with homemade butter. The olives were great, big, good quality ones and there were quite a few of them, and the bread board I thought was the best bread board I have seen so far in a restaurant, it had 3 different types of bread, including the dark bread, which I absolutely love as it is very typically Eastern European. An added little m goes to Jamie for including this, and the presentation of the dish was great. So the nibbles were great but unfortunately the starters did let me down a bit. We ordered some seabass ceviche, with yuzu, chilli, garlic, pomegranate & coriander cres and crispy calamari with smashed avocado, lemon & rocket. The ceviche was nice, but I am very picky when it comes to ceviche, and it was not top class. The calamari was actually a bit worse, they were presented in huge chunks, which is ok, but I did think they had a bit too much batter and the avocado that went with it was a bit random. It did not really add much to the dish and also was not amazing to taste. For the main course Talib had the Barbecoa burger, which was served with westcombe cheddar, streaky bacon, sweet onions & chips. The burger seemed to have a lot of onions, but Talib enjoyed it and said he was feeling super full after eating it. The chips were normal, nothing special, but not bad. I had the fillet steak with bone marrow, smoked béarnaise shallot & herb salad. The meat was nice, but I really can’t say I felt that it was different and cooked in some special barbecue steakhouse way. The “shallot and herb” salad was just watercress topped with some onion. I also had a side dish of baby gem salad topped with creamy bacon salad, and even though Talib does not eat bacon and we did ask the waitress not to add any bacon on top, she forgot and there was bacon. The salad was ok, but once again not the best salad I have had. I love Jamie Oiver’s cookbooks and frequently use them to cook and I love watching his TV programmes but it did feel like some of these dishes fell short of what Jamie can make on a TV show in 30 minutes. Plus this place is not cheap for what it serves, and as my friend Ed said “this place would be empty if it did not have Oliver’s name at the top”.
Price for 2 including service charge, no alcohol: 117.56
Location: St Paul’s