If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll gather that I am a fairly loyal customer once you’ve got my attention. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the excitement of a new place, but going somewhere that I know what to expect leaves me feeling content. If we don’t go back to these places then they won’t be there to go back to so it is important as well. On one of my many Christmas shopping days I met Liz (loves good food & gin) and we were looking for somewhere near the shops in the city centre to eat. We went through the usual “Greek?”, “I don’t fancy Greek”, “I don’t fancy Indian” rigmarole and decided on tapas so made a beeline for Princes Square. I always know that Christmas is coming when I go into Princes Square because the decorations feel so magical. I miss the old traditional decorations they had but the new ones still do the job. Even although Princes Square is a shopping centre, it plays host to some fantastic eateries. None of this school dinners style malarkey-more cocktails, rib-eyes & macchiatos. Barca has been there for a long time and I first went about five years ago. It covers three of my needs – near the shops, cheap enough for a spur of the moment and tasty food. They do a few deals online so I tend to book through an external site but forgot this time.
It was fairly quiet when we arrived so there were seats left on the balcony but this area busies up quickly so I’d specify it when booking if you really want to sit there. We ordered some beers to kick us off – a Sagres for her and a Desperados for me – then a selection of dishes from the a la carte menu.
We ordered barra gallega con salsas (£4.50) – crusty bread that comes with aioli, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, red mojo sauce (tastes like paprika) and green mojo sauce (tastes like coriander) because we were hungry and wanted something immediate. The dips are worth the extra money – so moreish!
Shortly afterwards our food started arriving with my gambas pil pil (£5.95) coming first. It is such a simple dish but one of my Spanish favourites and their addition of paprika only makes it better. My only suggestion is that I’d love more garlic slivers in the pan to mop up with bread.
Liz’s manchego frito (£4.75) was the ultimate treat dish of Spanish manchego cheese in a crumb with a spicy tomato dip – all gooey and cheesy, yum.
Chuleta de cordero (£7.95) came as two big lamb cutlets with a sweet fig and honey sauce – another one to mop up with bread as you can see in the photo!
As a special they were doing turkey and cranberry croquettes (£5.95) so we thought we would try them out. They were really nice and I’d love to see them on the menu even although it is a festive filling.
Since I have an infatuation with garlic and olive oil, I also chose champinones al horno (£4.95), which are flat cap mushrooms baked with the aforementioned. The dish had been executed well – the mushrooms still had a slight firmness and weren’t drowned in the garlicky oil.
Patatas bravas (£3.75) completed our spanish feast and added on some little needed carbs but were enjoyable all the same.
It was meant to be a quick dinner but we ended up sitting chatting for a few hours in the nice surroundings. Our waitress was friendly and did not seem to mind as it was quiet. The perfect post-shopping unwind.