Let's Be Barbarians. If that's what it takes to indulge into these treats, you can count me IN.
I can honestly say that this is THE best restaurant I've been since I moved to London two years ago. Discovered by luck while passing Neals Yard Place with a dearest friend, we first saw The Barbary due to its loud music pimping us in.
The set up of this place is fantastic: a cozy little restaurant with only 24 seats for the lucky guests who will make it that day for either lunch or dinner.
There are no proper tables but a dining area set deli-style (eating by the counter), which I particularly love. The idea here is to share, and to share everything, even who you sit with! Some may not like the idea but I think that interacting with the amazing cooking team while they prepare your Middle-Eastern (with Mediterranean and/or North African twist) delicacies is great.
Every little dish we tried was an explosion of flavors, but if I had to choose my dream meal here, I'd say the following: Arayes, a pita bread sandwich with minced lamb and lots of spices, and the Jerusalem bagel with some dips as a starter. If you are a veggie lover, then definitely try the aubergine and the cauliflower Jaffa as some of your mains; and if you are a meat lover, you REALLY need to try Pata Negra. You'll die of pleasure.
As usual, we were last finishing our meal, but thanks to that we got to talk to the friendly peeps working there, even Chef Navob, owner this terrific place, was there for the first opening weeks. He totally got us into trying desert even though we were quite full, but man oh man was he right to force us...
The hash cake is meant to be the star of the menu but I particularly liked the Knafeh better, a cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. NOM.
In any case, I think I made myself pretty clear here, but if you haven't got why you should try this place out yet, I'll summarize it for you: BEST Food (though minimal selection of drinks, for those who need them), BEST ambiance, BEST music, and of course, BEST service!
My motto is to never repeat restaurants, and I've been here twice in the last month.
Where is it? 16 Neal's Yard Place, WC2H 9DP
When should you go? Tuesday to Sundays from 12,30 to 3,30pm and from 5 til 10pm. You may be put off by the long cue, and even more so since you can't have a drink until you are by the bar counter. But, my friend, don't despair! If you hate q's just try to make it for lunch or have an early dinner or rather quite a late one.
YES, YES, YES. I am hooked to this place, but so will you once you try it.
P.S.: As I was very into my food, I kinda forgot to take many pictures (oops!). The gallery you see here today is a mixture of my own pics and some taken from my google research. Thank you to those who remember to take such fantastic shots!