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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
29th March 1979 Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine, premieres in London
29th March 1959 Born today: Marina Sirtis, London, actress (Troi-Star Trek: The Next Generation)
29th March 1871 the Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.
29th March 1869 Born today: Edwin Lutyens, architect, London
The Capital's Best Tapas?
A little peice of delicious Spain in Soho
Location: 54 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4SL
Description: Well don't take Shady's word for is, try the Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide 2009 for size!
Before you even enter this stylish tapas restaurant, the air is redolent of frying garlic and grilling meat: an enticing aroma made more appealing by the dishes that waiters carry past as you queue for a seat.
And you probably will queue, as Barrafina is tiny, popular and doesn't take bookings. This is the second, less formal, venture for the Hart brothers, who also run Fino and, now, Quo Vadis .
It's little more than an open kitchen surrounded by a stainless-steel bar and tall stools. The quality of ingredients, many of them on display, is impeccable. Neither of the brothers was present on our visit, but we could hardly fault the dishes: from tender, succulent octopus sharpened with capers, to plancha-fried chorizo with potato and watercress, to a dome-shaped, properly squidgy-centred tortilla. Coca Mallorquin (Majorcan-style 'pizza' topped with spinach, sultanas and pine nuts) was more flavourful than the ingredients might suggest.
Barrafina takes its drink seriously, providing excellent sherries by the glass and wines from some of Spain's best modern-style producers.
So go find.