Walking down Frith Street, there’s that question of whether to queue at Koya for a steaming bowl of delicious udon or to queue at Barrafina for seafood tapas from their plancha. So when Julie told me that Junya of Koya and Nieves of Barrafina were doing a limited collaboration – just two days for two weeks – there was no question about going to taste what both chefs would come up with.
Looking through the dishes and the detailed accompanying notes on Junya’s menu, they all sounded so delicious that we ordered all but one. The one we passed on? That had goat heart, liver, and cheese in it so a step too far for us. As for the six we did order, the fusion of Japanese and Spanish cooking worked very well. None of them disappointed and we loved the inventiveness on show.
My favourite dishes included the crunchy udon nachos married with the creamy peas, broad beans, and tofu guacamole and the flavoursome baby clams and tomatoes served with paprika eel. Both were light, simple dishes that really showed off each ingredient. The weakest dish was the monkfish, girolles, and poached egg in Iberico dashi which, whilst tasted fine, just lacked the punchiness of its sister dishes.
But the stand out dish had to be the savoury yet sweet dessert of chocolate stout and honey braised pork belly with Valencia orange. Sheer melt-in-the-mouth decadence.
A fantastic lunch and, given how good and how popular it was, why did they not do this sooner. Though the more important question is when are they doing this again as the collaboration has already finished for now.