Last week S. and I had an impromptu dinner at Barrio East. I had previously been to Angel’s Barrio North on Essex Road and am a fan of its dilapidated/reclaimed vibe (picture a vintage caravan in situ in the bar.) But Shoreditch’s outpost – the word ‘Barrio’ literally translates as ‘neighbourhood’ – has a somewhat slicker aesthetic, albeit nonetheless charming.
As the East version of Barrio actually has more room to breathe it makes more sense as a restaurant than Islington’s, which is more convivial and rum-focussed. The booths are really cosy and the menu of tapas, tacos and nachos mean it’s hard not to order loads of platos to share and fight over.
We had ceviche de salmon (fresh cubes of salmon and prawns marinated in passion fruit, lime juice and dark rum, with red onion and coriander), nanchos with salsa and sour cream, moros y cristianos (Vegetarian version of the classic Cuban rice and beans dish), empanadas & chimichurri (beef and tomato crispy pasties with herb sauce) plus my personal fave, chicarrones & platano frito (Latin style crunchy pork belly with fried plantains and apple and chipotle salsa).
OH and of course we ordered ‘Amigo hour’ cocktails – S. had the ‘Face Planter’ – Kraken spiced rum with pineapple and lime juice, I had the ‘Hawaii-N-Dry’ (pictured) – Ketel One Vodka with grapefruit, guava and lemon juice.
Expect live music and full, happy bellies. Go immediately!
141 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JE