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Voyage to the Barbary Coast – in London

On 15th June, the team behind Soho’s El Palomar, siblings Layo and Zoë Paskin, along with Assaf Granit, Uri Navon and Eyal Jagermann, opened a new restaurant at Neal’s Yard to take Londoners on a gastronomic tour from the Barbary Coast of North Africa to Jerusalem, with a special focus on grilling and baking. SEEN can’t wait to visit.

On 15th June, the team behind Soho’s El Palomar, siblings Layo and Zoë Paskin, along with Assaf Granit, Uri Navon and Eyal Jagermann, opened a new restaurant at Neal’s Yard to take Londoners on a gastronomic tour from the Barbary Coast of North Africa to Jerusalem, with a special focus on grilling and baking. SEEN can’t wait to visit.

This cosy restaurant of just 24 seats is named after the Barbary Coast. This area, settled by the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains, was infamous for pirates. The restaurant seeks to evoke a story of trade, travel and culture – people voyaging, collecting and sharing ingredients and recipes, gathering influences from areas visited, thus enriching their own culture and heritage.

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With Eyal Jagermann, formerly of The Palomar, as Head Chef, The Barbary’s cuisine reflects the countries from the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel. All these countries have rich culinary traditions; exotic products, spices and cooking techniques passed down through generations, reflecting the sharing between countries and cultures.

This culinary heritage is about seasonality – food available at that moment from that piece of land, cooked in the most pure way, with fire, whether it was grilling on coals or baking in ancient clay ovens in the middle of the village. That is the basis of the Barbary Coast: some history, a little bit of romance and a Kitchen Bar.

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The interior by Gundry & Ducker is designed around a simple concept that reflects its origins: the courtyard and fire. A 24-cover Kitchen Bar in iroko wood with a weathered zinc top sits around the cook line, allowing diners to see and enjoy the interaction with the team cooking and serving food. The interior also features150-year-old reclaimed floor tiles and terracotta pitted plaster walls. Three arched windows open out, making the interior feel a part of the courtyard of bustling Neal’s Yard.

The Barbary menu starts off with breads, Naan e Barbari and Jerusalem Bagel and dips: Msabbaha Hummus, Zhug, Harissa, Burnt & Pickled Chilli, Tbecha and Baba Ghanoush, before splitting into Land, Sea and Earth sections of grills. Frequently changing dishes might feature Duck Hearts, Slow Roasted Goat, Chicken Msachen and Pata Negra neck; Red Mullet, Monkfish Chermoula and Octopus alongside Baby Courgettes with Black Tahini, Roasted Aubergine “Sharabik” and “Kumzitz” Beetroot & Labneh. To finish, there are Beirut nights, Hashcake and Knafeh. Truly a feast for all the senses.

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The Barbary drinks list is carefully curated to feature everything the team loves, such as Vermouths, Black Cow Vodka, East London Gin, Fernet Branca and Nikka Whiskey. The wines, traditionally divided into Red, White and Rosé also include Orange. Most are boutique, biodynamic and may be either organic or grown under those principles. Several drinks are also exclusively imported by the team and include Pelter Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Clos de Gat Chanson Rouge 2010 and Zyme Kairos 2011 from the wine list, not to mention Vic Ale Cervesa Artesana and Old Lizzie Arak. Soft drinks include fresh juices, San Bitter, Ginger Beer and Elderflower.

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The Barbary doesn’t take reservations so, if you find a queue, relax in the waiting area where drinks and food are served. It’s also one of the first London restaurants where menu pricing includes all service provided. How refreshing is that?

THE BARBARY
16 Neal’s Yard
Seven Dials
London
WC2H 9DP

Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm – 10pm
From early July: Tuesday to Sunday from noon – 10pm
Closed: Mondays

www.thebarbary.co.uk