Amidst new fine dining establishments popping up all over London, Barnyard goes the other direction and offers visitors a super informal eating concept that’s just a few steps away from having a picnic in a barn. With occasionally hokey Americana, tables made of planks, corrugated iron walls and mismatched stools, Barnyard offers even the sincerest of flannel wearing “lumbersexuals” some good booze and chicken in a roll.
Barnyard is the brainchild of Ollie Dabbous, he of painfully popular restaurant Dabbous fame. While this eatery has won high praise for its slick modernism, Dabbous shows he’s not a one trick pony and also has something to offer on the cheaper, more blue collar end of the spectrum. The menu looks like a gas station’s – but don’t be fooled. The enamel plates and simple names betray meals that are surprisingly thoughtful.
There’s something refreshing about ordering “mince and dumpling” on the menu, and, well, getting just that. Short rib done with treacle and mustard, sausage rolls, chicken wings and other unpretentious crowd pleasers are the staples, with some honest veggie dishes like corn on the cob and cabbage done with clover.
The longer you linger in Barnyard, the more you come to appreciate the deliberate artifice and the care with which the down-home country vibe has been pieced together. The acorn flour pancake is a strange creation – high end yet humble at the same time, something that would please cynical foodies and country bumpkins alike. Finish off with popcorn ice cream and hot fudge sauce, which is something Hemingway would have loved if he were a hipster. On the booze front, try the popular shandies or bourbon, but don’t expect anyone to turn over the tables and break out with the square dancing – the venue is rather small.Check out Barnyard here
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