Time for my first review. Barnyard, a short walk from Goodge St. tube gets to be the first lucky subject.
Planning for my friend’s birthday involved a lot of blog reading, with one new restaurant/bar regularly popping up – Barnyard. So we decided to trek over to Charlotte Street, initially 5 of us, increasing to 11 total for a 7pm dinner. Once we stepped into Barnyard we realised this might be an issue – it’s pretty compact (50-60 seats), but they were great at accommodating us in two sittings (a 5 and a 4, with 2 remaining at the bar to keep the bar staff company as they weren’t eating). Luckily – there were no queues when we got there – pretty much because it has a very high table turnaround, so we just waited at the bar for our tables. Although I imagine for after work drinks/dinner it could be pretty hectic. Once you’ve been seated expect to finish eating and have the bill within about 20-30mins.
The drinks were amazing. Strong, but amazing. I’d probably recommend people to go there just to have the Dandy Shandy (sweet, cinnamon and topped off with cider) or the Country House Shandy (slightly more bitter as the alcohol includes Bourbon and Goose Island IPA as well as Elderflower & ginger ale)!
Not as I expected, which is a shame, but for the - one drink + food it’s about £20 per person - it is extremely high quality for £20.
It’s essentially American tapas, which is yum and is billed as being high-quality, stemming from the restaurant owners’ other restaurant ‘Dabbous’. I ordered Barbecued grain-fed short rib, French Fries and Corn on the cob, which, after a couple of drinks, I was REALLY looking forward to.
Firstly the corn on the cob. I advise you to go there and get that. Now. Or if not now, at least this weekend. I’m normally not overly fussed with sweetcorn (peas, however, rule), but this was something else. Cooked to perfection, the salted butter and meadowsweet (?! A perennial herb grown in damp meadows) matched the sweetness of the corn. It was so good that I didn’t speak until I’d finished eating it!
But, I then moved onto the fries and rib. The rib was literally one rib (I was hungry and expecting more!). The first cut into the rib was pretty fatty, but about 85% of it was edible, so I left the remainder (I’m not that fussy, but it was a bit too much). However, the meet was cooked to perfection, it was a dream to cut and the barbequed-ness was delicious. The sauce alongside it was interesting, but overall if I was to go back I’d probably give it a miss and choose something else (my friend’s mince and dumpling looked & was said to be lovely).
Then the fries, which were a bit disappointing. They were fine, a bit dry and carboardy, but a bit like McDonalds on a bad day and had nothing special to differentiate them.
Wings, cornbread and Lard on toast also got positive reviews, so it is definitely somewhere I’d suggest for a quick meal out.
We then got lucky and had a taste of the popcorn ice-cream with smoked fudge sauce. This was brilliant. One word of advice – go slow on adding the fudge sauce to the ice cream, it is very smokey, so take some time to try the ice cream on it’s own.
Brilliant. Considering the high turnover of customers they still managed to make you feel special and part of the ‘family’ almost. When we left pretty much all the waiters said bye and waived us out! (Hopefully it was because they liked us, not that they were glad to be getting rid of us!). We felt a bit forced into getting three mains from our waiter, which was actually great news for me as I ended up getting the corn on the cob, but for some of my friends they felt it was a bit too much (I’d go for a meat, a veg and a pure carb instead of 2 meats etc.). We were also given a FREE popcorn ice-cream with smoked fudge sauce. I’m not sure why, but there was no complain from any of us!
For the quality of food for the price, the décor, and the service, I would definitely go back. There are still a lot of things I want to test out, plus I’d love to try one of the milkshakes! It’s a good starter location for a night out, it’s a quick walk down into Soho and the bars around there. I'd give the fries and rib a miss, but I haven't had that quality of food for that price in a really well-themed restaurant you've got to give it a go.