The Hart Bros unveil the fourth (and largest) of their Barcelona-inspired tapas chain in a new Regent’s Canal-side retail quarter, Coal Drops Yard – developed from a converted Victorian coal store. It vaunts 40 covers with a private dining space for 24. The outside terrace, seating 60, will have a separate name - Parrillan, inspired by the Spanish 'parrilla' or grill - and will open in Spring 2019.
Harden's survey result
“The perfect alternative to a trip to Spain!” – in fact “the food is better than in Barcelona” in the branches of the Hart Bros’ small chain, which pays homage to that city’s Cal Pep with its small (no more than 30 covers) bars in Soho and Covent Garden (and – arriving in autumn 2018, in the trendy new Coal Drops Yard development in King’s Cross, alongside a covered and heated terrace separately branded as ‘Parrillan’). Confidently ‘surfing the Zeitgeist’ – no other individual restaurant, never mind group, has ever achieved such an outstanding and consistent level of support in the survey, over many years. There’s “no booking and no fuss” – “you often have to queue” (though drinks and nibbles help enliven the experience) and seating is “counter-stye” at the bar (“which works less well for any kind of group, but for couples is ideal”). With its “bold Spanish flavours” the tapas selection is “arguably some of London’s best food at any price, and remarkable value” (while by the same token “watching the chefs at work is brilliant” – “there’s nothing theatrical, but it’s mesmerising seeing experts so engrossed in their stations”). “The wine list is short, punchy and perfectly complements the food”, “staff seem to be having as good a time as the clientele” and the overall effect is properly “effervescent”. Top Tip: “always go for the daily blackboard specials, especially the fish”, which is “cooked to a tee and beautifully seasoned”.
“The wait can sometimes be twice the time spent at the counter”, but no-one seems to mind at the Hart Bros kick-ass small group of Barcelona-inspired tapas haunts in Soho (now relocated to the ground floor of Quo Vadis) and Covent Garden. “The buzz is amazing” and, having nabbed a perch (fewer than 30 in each branch), everyone “loves the open kitchen and watching the keen staff at work”, while the dishes themselves are genius – “fresh seafood is amongst the highlights” but “even something as simple as tomato bruschetta is transformed here”. (So far, the February 2017 departure of founding group exec head chef, Nieves Barragán Mohacho, to found Sabor, has had zero effect on ratings – the new incumbent is Angel Zapata Martin.)
“It’s a theatrical experience to watch your food being prepared with such artistic delicacy and loving care” at the Hart Bros’ “rightly celebrated” bars, whose “utterly brilliant” tapas is “better even than in Barcelona”. Despite “a queue visible from the space station” (at W1 especially), the food is “totally worth the wait every time” and the “terrific and very kind” staff add to the “wonderfully dynamic” atmosphere. “Exceptionally, the spin-offs are as good as the original” (each is “subtly different”), but in autumn 2016, change is afoot, as the original Frith Street branch moves site into the redeveloped ground floor of nearby Quo Vadis (see also). Top Menu Tip – “everything is bloomin’ marvellous and fresh, but anything out of the sea most especially so”.
“I’m never happier than perched on a stool here, watching the incredible food being prepared!” – The Hart Bros have fully captured the zeitgeist with their “thrilling” small foodie meccas in Soho and Covent Garden – “truly exciting, vibrant London experiences” founded in “some of the best tapas outside Barcelona” (and in particular “peerlessly fresh fish”), “fabulous” wines and sherries, and “empathetic” service. “You wait over an hour for a seat, but it really is THAT good!” Incredibly, the second branch is rated just as highly as the Frith Street original, and to sound in-the-know, remark on how the Josper Oven makes the fish taste even better at Adelaide Street. Can they pull it off again with Branch No. 3?
Barrafina Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Having been to Barrafina in Drury Lane which was excellent, we were very disappointed in Coal Drop Yard. It was expensive (Gambas a la Sal £18 for 4 prawns poorly cooked) and the atmosphere was not good. Service was only average. A shame as the concept could be good."
"The new Barrafina in Coal Drop Yard is not as loud and lively as the Soho branch but the food is still super. There are three highly sought after tables if you can't manage looking effortlessly cool while perching on a stool wolfing down tapas."
"Tapas here is even better than Iberica in Leeds - really fantastic food. Managed to get seated without queuing, which was quite lucky. We enjoyed everything we eat and quality was top class."
"The Harts appear to be able to "almost" achieve the holy grail of reproducing a winning restaurant yet still keep it "real". But...... the service was good - after they decided to talk to us (sat at the bar for about 10 minutes before being asked what we wanted to drink); many of the dishes were very good, but none were excellent and the prawns on salt were way over-cooked. It's those little things that probably miss the golden touch of Neves. A recent visit to Sabor showed that the original perfection is repeatable - as long as she is involved."
"It's a shame I don't really like tapas/Spanish food that much, becuase I know this is amongst the best. Great room in the Coal Drops Yard, lovely staff who look after you whilst you queue 30-45 mins for a table. Very enjoyable, bit expensive."
|Monday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11 pm|
|Sunday||1 pm-3:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10 pm|