People: Interviews

In Conversation, Angel Zapata Martin

Executive Chef, Barrafina

Barrafina Mariscos is coming! Can you tell we’re excited? As long-time Barrafina fans, we definitely are. Ahead of their launch this Thursday at their Drury Lane location, Angel Zapata Martin gives us a bit of insight into what to expect.

UJ: What dishes are you excited about that are coming to Barrafina Mariscos?
AZM: I’m really excited about ‘centolla,’ which is a traditional way to cook spider crab. We make a soup with the brown and the leg meat and serve it in the shell. We’ll also be cooking sea bass in a salt crust, which makes it so, so tender and is a technique not used enough here. We’ll also be introducing besugo, which is considered the king of fish in Basque country asadors.

UJ: Is there anything else that will be different, or that we should look out for at Barrafina Mariscos?
AZM: The whole experience will be a little different, as we are trying to evoke some of the atmosphere of marisquerias in Spain. So a little less like a tapas bar and more of a dedicated seafood restaurant.

UJ: What’s your all-time favourite dish that you’ve created for one of the Barrafinas?
AZM: I have a few, to be honest, but I would probably say arroz negro at Barrafina Coal Drops Yard and Parrillan. Also fideua, with its crunchy crust at the bottom of the pan, the new solomillo steak at Dean Street or the new pork belly mollete… I am getting hungry thinking about it actually…

UJ: What is your favourite thing to cook?
AZM: Arroces and seafood in general. As Joan Manel Serrat sings, ‘Naci en el Mediterraneo.’

UJ: Is there a region in Spain that inspires you the most in your cooking?
AZM: My core inspiration is Catalunya and the Balearic Islands, but I’m always influenced by the Basque Country too.

UJ: Is there another chef in London who you think is doing exciting things right now, and if so, who?
AZM: I have such an admiration for Lee Tiernan. I love the way he breaks rules and his rock and roll attitude. Also I think Tomos Parry nailed it with the Brat concept, and Edoardo Pellicano from Maos is doing great things.

UJ: In lockdown we were hooked on your ‘how to’ videos. Any plans for more of these in the future?
AZM: I couldn’t have predicted how much impact those quarantine videos would have. We did them in my home kitchen with very humble expectations and just a desire to do something. It was amazing to see people cooking from them at home and tagging us in their stories! I’d really prefer not to do more of the videos so I can cook as much as I can face to face for our lovely customers, but you never know.

UJ: What are your favourite current London restaurants? 
AZM: Rochelle Canteen and Brat.

UJ: Favourite restaurants in Spain:

  1. In Barcelona Estimar
  2. In Ibiza Can Pilot
  3. Anywhere else? Santceloni, Madrid
Originally published on
5th October 2020

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