I’ve had this idea for a long time now. I love cooking but I like as much tasting someone else’s food. So I decided to makeover the blog and introduce a new section : “Food Encounters” to report on my eating out experiences in Paris, London or anywhere I would wind up. This is dedicated to new food hotspots, the must-see and the underrated. That will be a space to share my opinions and photos.
To kick start with this series I went to the new Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang restaurant Barbecoa. No need to mention again how I love Jamie and I don’t care if that makes me a cheesy groupie. I’m not a difficult person ; just offer me great food and I am all yours.
New restaurant, new location, it’s all slick and modern. You may have heard of it, the new shopping centre One New Change in London. Well Jamie surely wheeled out the big guns with a butcher on ground floor and the barbecue restaurant upstairs.
if I may say, it is quite unusual for us French to get this type of food in a mall. We’re more accustomed to the chained restaurants and overcrowded fast foods. But One New Change is in a different league. Right in the heart of the city, it is teeming with bankers, traders business men, followed by their long-legged PA’s in corporate skirts. These people are gloomy, they’re wealthy but have little time to spend their cash so One New Change couldn’t be more appropriate: it got it all.
The building as well is quite swanky and guess what, is designed by the world-acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel himself!
Because I wanted to avoid the working crowd, I went on a Saturday, when the whole area is deserted and peaceful, not at all a problem for me!
When I got through the door the place was quiet, spacious and relaxed. Attention to details is obvious and the staff is friendly and welcoming. As we’re ushered to our table we get past the open-space kitchen where the magic happens. We just can’t wait!
This place is big as I said before…can we sit now? Where is she taking us, ooh I see, right behind the massive square column, a table for two right in front the Cathedral. Nice touch!
That feels good although slightly hot at this time of the day. The sun is high and the windows aren’t helping. Well, we should remin to the french architect that London can be sunny too… (sometimes !)
Nevermind, there is plenty of beverages to chose from for a refreshing start. I’ll go for the cocktail, whatever, I’ll be drunk for the rest of the day. I picked Colonial Garden: Gin, mint, cucumber, edelflower and apple juice…mmmm! Yep, that just feels right (Will you marry me Jamie?)
Honestly I tried to have a critical eye on this place, be on the lookout for the tiny flaw, the not-so-great dish or unmet expectation. I put a lot of energy into this but in vain. The food was great. The starters were light and full of flavours. I had the crispy calamary while my accomplice took the crab salad.
At first I got a bit frustrated that the APL rib-eye for two had ran out (Seriously?).I was quite tempted by this one… Let’s get the short rib then… Gosh, I didn’t say a word until I finished my plate. Succulent meat with a caramelized taste and simply so tender you could eat it with a spoon. It was quiet a big portion but I didn’t struggle to get it over with. My partner’s juicy rack of lamb was a delight too.
At this stage, there was little room for dessert so we settled for a sharer. Let’s see…nice!
“Can I try your Vin Santo Rose Cake please?”
“This one is ok but not that amazing!”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It’s a sponge cake, nothing more.”
Thanks for the honesty but since when did Jamie settle for ordinary food?
That’s quite a turnoff, I don’t know what to do now. I ask the same waiter for advice and he recommends the Chocolate Nemesis, an original idea from the Rivers Café in Brooklyn, a full-on chocolate indulgence and no flour!
I like outspoken people and I am not difficult, so I went for it. Powerful and not too heavy, I did not regret this choice for a second.
20 New Change
London EC4M 9AG