This October, Zoe and Layo Paskin, will open the doors next month to The Barbary Next Door, the ‘little sister’ adjacent to The Barbary in the heart of Covent Garden.
Situated in bustling Neal’s Yard courtyard, The Barbary Next Door will be a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar, open from early in the morning until late in the night, and serving a menu that takes its cues from the fragrant spices and smoky flavours of Moorish Spain and North African cooking.
The Barbary’s head chef Daniel Alt will be at the helm of the kitchen, while a considered wine list focusing on Spanish, French and Moroccan bottles will be overseen by wine director and sommelier Honey Spencer.
For breakfast, there will be an assortment of sweet North African pastries including ktefa, brick pastry layered with cre`me anglaise. Ras-el-hanout, pumpkin bread served with a pumpkin and sunflower seed clotted cream, while on the savoury side, there will be maaqooda, a Moroccan tortilla.
The ‘roadside eggs’ is inspired by the much-loved dish served in bus and train stations across the Middle East: flavourful minced lamb kefta are simmered with eggs in a spiced tomato sauce, and eaten straight from the hot pan.
To drink, there will be simple cortado coffees; refreshing pomegranate juice; and almond milkshakes, while cocktails from the bar will include a Kir Royale and the Barbary Bloody Mary.
To start lunch and dinner, there will be snacks of Moroccan olives and candied
peanuts. A selection of breads will be at the heart of each meal, ready to mop up every last drop. There will be frena, a fluffy pita-style bread, topped with salty anchovies; and a new Barbary bread with a line- up of dips and salads including zaaluk; matbucha, a thick tomato sauce; tirshi, a Tunisian pumpkin salad; and fava beans with chopped onion and egg.
Lighter dishes will include a blood orange and grapefruit salad with fennel and tarragon, while from the sea there will be mackerel fricassee; raw sea bass with cherry coriander salad, lime yoghurt; and oysters served with harissa oil.
Larger dishes to share will include chicken pastilla, a chicken filo pie dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar inspired by warm evenings in Marrakesh. A choice of warming tagines will include oxtail, vegetable or chicken, while whole red mullets will be marinated in chermoula with preserved lemon and cumin.
For dessert, there’s a choice of sfenj, a Maghrebi doughnut; marzipan cigars; or hashpot, a pistachio cre`me diplomat.
The wine list focuses on organic picks from the warmer Old World regions, to stand up to the spiced dishes from the kitchen. There’s Guerrouaine Blanc 'Les Trois Domaines; 2018, a Sauvignon Blanc from Morocco’s first controlled appellation; Bodegas Ameztoi’s Txakoli Rosado 2020, a rose´ wine made with indigenous grapes from the Basque country; and Le Syrault 2018, from Syrah and Cinsault grapes grown on the hot slopes of the Roussillon in south east France.
Zoe said, “The Barbary Next Door was initially our neighbourhood delivery service during lockdown; now that everything has re-opened, we’re bringing that welcome sense of familiarity to Neal’s Yard with our new restaurant and wine bar.”
Layo added, “The Barbary Next Door will certainly reference some of the food and design elements that The Barbary has become known for but it will be a new experience. It’s a relaxed spot where you can pop by for a coffee, chilled beer or glass of wine, perch at the bar for a quick
bite or settle in for the evening with friends.”