Jamie Oliver and Keith were born days a part. That meant that they were two tiny, babies with separate lives and upbringings, raised with a love for food and a gift for cooking. There are very profound reasons why we admire Jamie Oliver other than the closeness in age. For a start, we believe, he is not your archetypical celebrity chef sporting Michelins stars and roaring at his staff. Secondly, we perceive him as a true lover of food, who has the inherent belief of fresh wholesome produce.
Despite Fifteen being on our doorstep, we have never been to one of Jamie’s restaurants. Therefore, we were so excited by the experience offered by Adam Perry Lang and himself.
Barbecoa’s under pinning experience is the fruit of the earth. Jamie in our mind is a back to basics guy. Our sentiments marry is that we are staunch believers in fresh wholesome ingredients being the crux to success in a culinary experience. The decor in Barbecoa is earthy, with wooden tables and brass finishings. The Maitre d' explained that Jamie and Adam eventually want an aged "ranch" feel. Round tables for parties of eight were held in large metallic spider cages. Very cool!
Our table this evening overlooked the beautiful but imposing St Paul’s Cathedral. Keith and I both enjoyed prosecco aperitifs as we considered our choices for the evening. I picked a St Clements Fizz, which was bursting with citrus and despite my getting caught up in whiskers of orange peel, it was a perfect preface to the weekend.
For my starter I chose the grilled calamari with crushed avocado and sweet chilli sauce, and Keith picked the chicken wings in mint ginger and chill. My squid was so beautifully presented like a concertina, as well as tasty. Meanwhile, Keith was nibbling on his smoky chicken wings. The surviving bones pretty much indicated that he was satisfied.
For our mains I chose the fillet steak and Keith picked the “whole lamb”, which we were reliably informed was not a complete lamb. Look at the pictures of my beef. There is no fat, ample juice, and succulence. I have rarely seen such perfection in my steak eating life. Keith’s whole lamb was served on a flat bread and with a carrot salad. The lamb compiled shoulder, neck and rump. It was tender, flaky and slow cooked so that the meat almost shredded and melted itself.
There was an ample selection of wine which spanned all manner of customers’ desires from your urbanites to your City types who would not bat an eyelid at “investing” in their meat experience. Unfortunately, we spied a St Emilion and that pretty much ended any deliberation.
By dessert we were surprisingly not overly stuffed. The options were all tempting. I chose the Chocolate Nemesis which is an uber rich, gooey melt in the mouth fudgey treat. Keith decided on a cheesecake which was similar to key lime pie. The biscuity base with chocolate nibs and a ginger nut, topped with lime meringue, burst with citrus. The texture of the rough base with the smooth, but crisp “filling” made for a fascinating melange. It was heaven.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Barbecoa experience, from the tandoor oven, the smoker (the only one of its kind in the UK), the Argentine grill and the slow cooked smoked BBQ, we were riveted by Jamie Oliver’s back to nature out door themes. They even have a butcherie downstairs, which is open to the public to purchase their favourite meat cut. Hats off to Thomas and Greta who were superb in answering our questions and whose kindness made a wonderful evening into an exceptional night. We rolled away, full and content. Lucky me. One of my Christmas parties will be back at Barbecoa. Next time, I will bring my tracky bottoms and a hanky for my meat sweats.