We found this little gem by serendipity, after a historical play at The Old Vic we decided to extend the night and grab a bite to eat. Instead of going on the main road for some reason we decide to go behind the theatre house and down a small road. We found La Barca, which looked almost cottage like and decided it was worth a try. As we walked in we were welcomed by an Italian waiter (this was clearly a family run restaurant) and in the first room there was a large wood en bar stacked full of a selection of Italian wines and a couple of diners in the corner. We were taken to the main room to eat. The main room was much lighter than the entrance. The room had white walls and were covered with images of famous celebrities that had eaten at the restaurant.
The Italian owner served us with a bottle of good Italian red wine and took our orders; I chose Mistro Tropicale; fresh Cornish crab with mayonnaise and baby prawns with cocktail sauce served with mango and avocado and my friend ordered the bruschetta with fresh tomatoes on top. They food came out swiftly although there was enough time to relax and tell that they were making the food from scratch. My dish came out on a large platter with the mango and avocado fanned out at either end of the plate. The crab and the baby prawns were served in the middle. It was really a well out together dish and the colour was eye catching. The tangy mango and creamy avocado went well with the rich, juicy seafood. The fish was nicely chilled and delicate. The brushetta was crisp and garlicky. The tomatoes were fresh and incredibly tasty. Just delicious.
For main course I ordered, veal with salmon and topped with caviar, my friend ordered the veal with creamy mushrooms. Both of the veal dishes came out wafer thin, which lost the texture but was cooked well. The salmon on top of my veal was thick smoked salmon slice and surprisingly went well. The orange caviar on top were fat and juicy. A unique dish which was a nice change from the traditional Italian dishes I normally order. The creamy mushroom veal was also delicious and both dishes did not limit on the calories.
The food in this Tuscan restaurant is clearly very traditional, cooked by the Italian family and served by the Italian family. The menu (although pricy) was vast and thoughtful. The service was friendly yet not overly familiar and even the frames of celebrities surrounding us added to the relaxed unpretentious atmosphere. This is certainly one of my favourite Italian restaurants in central. La Barca deserves:
Food Atmosphere Service