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Book review – Barrafina

12 August 2011
Book review – Barrafina

Barrafina By Sam and Eddie Hart and Nieves Barragan Mohacho
Fig Tree, £25
ISBN 978-1-905490-74-5

Named after the popular tapas restaurant in London's Soho, Barrafina is the second cookery book by acclaimed restaurateurs Sam and Eddie Hart (who also own Fino and Quo Vadis). It is written together with Barrafina and Fino executive head chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho, who hails from the Basque Country.

The concept of Barrafina is simple: 120 Spanish recipes that you can cook at home. The book provides an exciting take on Spanish cuisine that will entice readers to experiment with Spanish food. Nieves is a great chef; his recipes are spot on as far as authenticity is concerned and should encourage the Spaniard inside all of us to emerge.

The book is well structured and keeps the reader engaged. The recipes are beautifully photographed and well explained, with entertaining stories attached. Sam and Eddie have even included a handy supplier's list for the more unusual Spanish produce that may not be easy to find.

The standout recipe for me is the ham croquetas - there are numerous versions of this dish and this is an excellent take on a Spanish classic.

As a professional Spanish chef I can see what Sam, Eddie and Nieves have tried to achieve with this book and can honestly say that they've been successful. I believe this book will encourage more people to experiment with Spanish food, or perhaps even introduce Spanish cuisine into a few more homes. I'm passionate about getting people to cook Spanish food and have strived to put tapas on the map with my own restaurants, so I can appreciate the hard work that has gone into this book.

While some of the recipes may not be that accessible or easy to recreate for the home cook, as only more adventurous people will be able to track down some of the rarer ingredients, Barrafina is certainly inspirational for the professional chef. The recipes are worth the extra effort and are of high quality. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the dishes soon start to appear on the menu at local tapas restaurants.

Omar Allibhoy, executive chef at El Pirata Detapas and owner of Tapas Revolution

If you like this, you'll love these:
The Book of Tapas Simone and Ines Ortega
Seasonal Spanish Food José Pizarro
Modern Spanish Food
Sam and Eddie Hart

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