If there’s one person who I believe has helped me understand my love of food and cooking, and sharing food and cooking with others, it’s Jamie Oliver. Jamie doesn’t know this of course. But secretly I’ve been channelling his philosophy of food and transforming the way I see and think of food at least for the past year or so. Six cookbooks later, many attempts at his receipes, great successes with those recipes, great failures with those recipes, and I can confidently say that I’m a true Jamie Oliver fan and a damn good cook now too.
When Lex and I visited London, he’d booked a surprise birthday dinner for me at Jamie’s London restaurant Barbecoa. The scenery at our window table seat was breathtaking. We had uninterrupted views of St Paul’s Cathedral to our left, and to our right the heat and flames of the kitchen. The rustic decor immediately transports you into a sophisticated steakhouse miles away from ‘Outback Steakhouse’ that frequent every block back home in Sydney.
BARBECOA IS A CELEBRATION OF TRADITIONAL FIRE-BASED COOKING AND INCREDIBLE INGREDIENTS. FOUNDED BY JAMIE OLIVER, IT’S MUCH MORE THAN A STEAK RESTAURANT. OUR IN-HOUSE BUTCHERS HANDPICK AND PREPARE THE VERY BEST MEAT IN BRITAIN, THEN OUR CHEFS COOK BEAUTIFUL MODERN DISHES USING TEXAS PIT SMOKERS, TANDOORS, FIRE PITS, ROBATA GRILLS AND WOOD-FIRED OVENS. AS YOU SIT AT YOUR TABLE OVERLOOKING ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, YOU’LL FEEL THE HEAT, SEE THE FLAMES LICK AND THE SMOKE DRIFT UPWARDS FROM OUR OPEN KITCHEN.
What we ordered:
Lex and I decided to order a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, from Mareuil-sur-Ay, France – we were both really in to our Rosé during this trip, since then we’ve grown to prefer a nice Shiraz or Merlot. But alas, the Rosé as ordered and consumed all too quickly. In fact I can recall singing as we walked across the London bridge later that night…
I want to mention that the service was impeccable at Barbecoa, the waiters were attentive and knowledgable – and our water glasses were always being filled up! For an appetiser we kept it simple with a serving of the Barbecoa Sourdough with Veal butter (delicious and just 5pounds). For mains, of course we went for a steak. The real essence of this establishment is the care and efforts they make to produce handpicked quality beef, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to taste! If you really don’t like steak though (apart from not going to eat here!), you can order the chicken or fish dishes. Lex and I both chose the Sirloin, medium-rare, with slow-roasted tomatoes. At 35pounds (and then still to be converted to Aussie dollars!), it was a pricey piece of meat, but then again we came to Barbecoa expecting that. Was it over-priced for what it was? Absolutely not. I’d pay double that for another steak this good. It was honestly the best steak I’ve ever had. Cooked perfectly, juicy, tender, aged-to-perfection. Lex’s quote? “Sooooooooo good”.
As a side we ordered the Garlic Mash Potato…I don’t even know how I can possibly describe this mash. It was amazing and Lex and I still mention it whenever we cook our own Mash or order it as a side whilst out. It was a creamy, textured mash with a clove of garlic sitting proudly in the middle. WOW. I actually just checked the Barbecoa Menu and they don’t seem to have it anymore. Jamie, if you’re reading this…!
And so the best birthday meal ever was sitting happily in our stomachs and it was off to wander the streets of London and snap some touristy pics.