Unassumingly positioned on the main road in Old Market there’s now a warm glow of the windows of Barrika, a new Spanish bar & restaurant. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but as soon as we walked through the door, all the staff were jolly, friendly and very Spanish. You can tell straight away that they’re loving what they’re doing, and that’s fun to be a part of!
Upstairs is a small bar and barrel tables with stools around, but we were led downstairs to the basement. It’s a pretty small room, maybe room for 20 or so covers, and there was a big group there for a birthday. This added to the atmosphere, made it pretty noisy and gave a good vibe to what otherwise might be a fairly empty feeling room (they could do with decoration on the walls perhaps). We were there with our good friends Lara & Dave, and we took ages to even look at the menu; our waiter was very patient with us despite having to come back to us a few times – he gave us a nudge that the big table was about to order, so we might like to get in first.
We went for a couple of rounds of tapas, including the following*:
Marinera Cartagenera – potato salad with tuna, vegetables and anchovies on a bread stick
Tortilla – chunky spanish Omelette
Croquetas Varias – ham and mushroom croquettes
Tortas de bacalao – deep-fried battered cod with garlic sauce
Boquerones en vinagre – silverskin anchovies in vinegar with parsley and garlic
Albondigas – homemade meatballs in tomato sauce
Patatas Alioli and Patatas Bravas – if you go out for tapas and don’t order these, did you even go out for tapas?
Huevos Rotos – fried potatoes, serrano ham, chorizo and peppers topped with a fried egg
*we doubled up on a few of these, and I may have missed some out. There was a lot of Rioja floating around.
There is a good range to choose from on the menu, and although the dishes are fairly small, they’re really reasonably priced (all under a fiver). They came out quickly, but in no way rushed and everything we ate we really enjoyed. A particular nod to the garlic sauce. We reckoned this had to be homemade, and I want to live in a bowl of it please.
We really hope they stick around and would love to go again. I’m worried that their location means they might get overlooked, so spread the word! The food is simple and feels authentic, the staff are wonderful, and the Rioja we had was superb (and the Spanish dessert wine / moscat / sherry at the end was a fun touch, sorry I can’t be more specific, like I said. Rioja.). It’s a really casual, informal venue for a fun dinner with friends. Oh, and Brad would like it known that the waiter we had looked like a Spanish Vince Vaughan.
All in all a fab night, 10/10.