On what is set to be the hottest day of the year so far, we HAD to share Parrillan with you – the new alfresco terrace bar and grill restaurant from the Barrafina team.
This is proper outdoor dining. Forget a cheap flight to Ryanair, with its canal-side location at Coal Drop’s Yard, we could well believe we were enjoying a minibreak in Europe.
The whole menu centres around the ‘parrilla’ or mini charcoal grill to you and I – with a selection of meat, fish and veggies delivered to your table, for you to cook yourself. All the seasoning, marinating and filleting has been done for you, so when we say cooking, it’s probably fairer to say chuck on the grill for a minute or two whilst you have another sip of wine. However, before you get to the main grilling action, it’s worth tucking into the ‘para picar’ section. Think, the most picture-perfect pan con tomate, and some of the tastiest, olive oil-drenched Cantabrian AA anchovies we’ve ever tasted. The produce here, often presented very simply, is second to none. The thinly sliced iberica ham, for example, was so flavoursome and the escalivada which is simply grilled veg – aubergine, peppers and onions – was served with the most delicious aioli and bread.
Grills can so often be super meaty affairs, but not so at Parrillan, where veggies and seafood-lovers are happily catered for. We started with a big pile of peas in the pod before moving onto a couple of red prawns and scallops (which you order individually). Fat chunks of marinated tuna have an Asian influence and are skewered for easy cooking. Thin strips of pluma iberica only need a quick flash-cooking before they’re ready to eat. All of which are accompanied with a selection of salsas and sauces, including aioli, herby mojo verde & rojo, and salvitxada (a Catalan romesco). A easy breezy green salad had been seasoned to perfection, and a plate of the patatas panadera are all you need on the side.
The wine list is a delight and it’s only right you start with a glass of rosé cava. However, once that’s finished, you’ll find a ‘wine of the day’, available by the bottle – which whilst we were visiting was The Flower & the Bee 2017 – a beautiful fresh white wine with a lovely back story that staff will recite whilst they pour. Desserts are a simple affair, with just a couple of options – a cheesecake drizzled with honey, ice-cream – but really, we’d take any excuse to stay a little longer in the sunshine.
So forget Ryanair this summer, and head to Parrillan for a suitably summery affair.