Ahead of the public opening of the much-awaited Coal Drops Yard we spoke to Sam Hart, the man behind four of the new openings there: Barrafina, Casa Pastor, Plaza Pastor and The Drop wine bar.
What’s your all time favourite restaurant in London?
River Café has brilliant food and uses wonderful ingredients – their seafood and pasta I particularly love. But more than just the food, the vibe is always fabulous and it always feels like a treat to go there. I can’t believe it’s 30 years old.
Where do you go to celebrate?
Quo Vadis Club. There is something particularly enjoyable about being able to party in your own private members’ club! The staff all know me (obvs) so I get the most wonderful service. And it’s always full of great friends. Jeremy Lee’s special meringue tower surprise is the only celebration cake I ever want.
Which chef should we be watching right now?
Jackson Boxer. He’s doing amazing things at St. Leonards and I’ve been a fan of his cooking at Brunswick House for a long time. He is really and deservedly becoming a culinary star.
Can you recommend us a hidden gem we might not have been to?
Bar Shu on Frith Street serves fabulously spicy Sichuanese cooking using all sorts of exotic ingredients. Their chicken in a pile of chillies is my favourite dish on the planet.
What should we order at the new Barrafina?
Angel Zapata’s new menu has absolutely blown us away. It takes inspiration from his Catalan roots and so there’s a mar y montana (surf and turf) section with a calamar and butifarra bun, which is a must-try. The sweetbreads with two mojos (sauces) and papas arugas (wrinkled potatoes) and suckling pig empanadillas are two other favourites.
What’s your local?
Hasu Sushi on Churchfield Road in Acton. It’s a delicious local sushi restaurant with charming service and a short walk from my front door. Funnily enough the wife of the owner used to work at Barrafina!