Another ‘first impressions’ post, I expect we will have a few of these as I have a list of restaurants for us to go to, 22 restaurants so far. This means I have to be going extra hard at the gym – CARDIO, ugh. – But for Amen he already goes pretty much everyday and still does the push-ups before we eat and after *rolls eyes*. He’s so vain! [I’m not, and that’s a lie.]
This first impression restaurant was actually not on my long list but a recommendation from Amen’s brother, a Jamie Oliver restaurant, Barbecoa. So, I had bells ringing as soon as I heard “Jamie Oliver”… erm, he usually does not have anything appealing to me on his menu, which meant I had to check online before I disappoint Amen with the “Nah, sorry babe nothing for me on there”. I promise, I’m actually really nice with this stuff even if there’s only one thing for me, I will still give it a go so he can enjoy. *Aww* lol. But luckily there was a meal for me to have – starter, main and dessert. GREAT! We can go.
The restaurant is located in St. Pauls – about a few minutes walk from the station. It has two floors, the first you are greeted by the staff and a rack of dried, aged meat behind them – YIKES – I’m not that keen on seeing meat. After checking our booking the lady directs us upstairs as she radios to another member of staff that we are coming up and our table number. Upstairs, another lady greets us and she shows us to our table, it was fairly busy for 6pm – but it was Friday. Most people were dressed casual, with a few smart casual – we were definitely casual – jeans and trainers kind of thing for us. We were given a nice table for two looking out to the street and lots of light – YES! Oh the pictures and selfies will be so great with this light – and they were! Lol.
Our waiter was very helpful and nice as he explained and cleared up our questions about certain things. For drinks, I had the Virgin Mojito as I always do and Amen the Elderflower Collins – he’s the experimenter, I keep it safe (most of the time I’m right going safe lol). My first question for the waiter was about the bread – ‘Tandoori Naan’ – I didn’t understand if it had a tandoori spice. It wasn’t, it was just cooked in that way. It was actually just ordinary, standard, fresh naan bread. Perfect, I got that and the chicken wings that had buffalo hot sauce, spring onion and chicken skin. They weren’t spicy hot, just a good amount to enjoy and a decent size. Amen had the Tuna Ceviche which he really liked as the tuna was fresh, light and simply seasoned. He also had the Sticky Spare Ribs which were as expected and he liked that the smoky barbecue sauce wasn’t overpowering. Naturally I didn’t touch his starters, but oh Amen definitely ate my wings and the bread *shock face* – this is the guy that doesn’t eat bread and always moans about me eating bread (and of course he done the push ups when we got home). [Oh no, I didn’t. This is slander.]
For my mains I opted for the only chicken dish – I had no choice really – the smoked & grilled chicken. I think I was the only person who ordered chicken – which means the other meat dishes are pretty amazing and from what I could see around me they were a good size. The chicken was a lot for me to handle, it was the whole chicken with a garden salad (basically a baby gem lettuce with dressing) and beef dripping chips – they were your basic chips. It all tasted pretty good for chicken and chips – you can’t really go wrong. The chicken was really tender with the mayo helping with the dry breast bit, which wasn’t as dry as I expected the breast to be. For Amen’s main it was the Pit beef with lettuce, bacon & shallot crumble and a side dish of coal-roasted sweet potato – which the waiter really talked up. To be fair, Amen really loved the sweet potato and the beef rib was fall-of-the-bone succulent. I didn’t try the sweet potato, as I’m not that crazy about it plus I had chips, which is wayyy better than sweet potatoes. Amen strongly disagrees, but whatever.
Oh yes, we still had room for dessert, each. I had the ‘Barbecoa brownie’ *mmm chocolate!* which came with cherry-ripple ice-cream and poached cherries. But thankfully our waiter was superb as he told me that the ice cream has alcohol so he changed it to vanilla for me since I don’t drink, luckily he remembered that. The dessert was pretty good, but I was so full that I couldn’t finish, although Amen finished it for me as well as his own, which was the ‘Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta’ with English strawberries and meringue. His dessert was light and refreshing, which is probably why he could finish my dessert too.
Dinner at Barbecoa was okay, nothing spectacular in my opinion but I suppose others would love it as they have a few meaty dishes that everyone seemed to enjoy as well as the bar area being pretty busy. It has a good vibe for dinner and drinks kind of date.
Dress code: Smart casual
Amen’s Star Dish: coal-roasted sweet potato
Price: £40 each
Rating: 3.8 out of 5