A recent opening on Charlotte Street, which is already full of various little gems that are worth visiting, Barnyard rocks a rustic, 'farm house' vibe (as its name suggests). As with most of the trendy new places in London, Barnyard operates on a 'no reservations' basis but takes it a little further as you can't even get onto the list until your full party has arrived. As a visitor in the city with nothing better to do than to rock up to the bar and start drinking until my friends arrive, this may pose to be a problem with people who are more occupied.
And the drinking is thoroughly enjoyable. One of the signatures of Barnyard is their array of milkshakes that all offer
Also on the drinks menu are a range of shandy made of either beer or cider, which are great for the less lactose-inclined, but honestly I loved the milkshakes too much to indulge in too many of these...
On to the food! My absolute favourite dish that I tried was the sausage roll. I'm a sucker for savoury pastries in general but this absolutely takes the cake as the best I've ever had! The emphasis of the sausage roll is definitely on the hefty chunk of sausage, which carries punchy, well seasoned and slightly herby flavours. The texture is slightly coarse, like a good home made sausage should be! I do wish there was a bit more pastry on the roll (because I love pastry), but there is a healthy little pocket of pastry skin tucked into the side of the roll for me to sink my teeth into.
The short rib was also excellent. Unlike most of the slow-cooked rib dishes you get, this charred number carries a lot more bite in the texture and has a hearty, charred meat flavour to it.
The wings were fried to perfection, crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, but I found the rub of sauce and herbs on the outside a little too overpowering. They were therefore less to my tastes, but altogether still pretty good.
There are also plenty of excellent 'healthy' options on the menu (I strongly believe this includes the milkshakes because every one needs their daily dose of calcium). I had this dish of duck's egg with asparagus, which is served slightly cool. This made for a very refreshing break from the heavier meat dishes and the asparagus in particular was spring-fresh and only cooked lightly, retaining its crispiness and tasting healthily green.
Barnyard's signature dessert of popcorn ice cream was unfortunately unavailable due to the ice cream machine having broken down (and was sadly still unavailable on my second visit). I was extremely disappointed as this has been raved about almost uniformly by those that have visited.
All in all though, this is an enjoyable dinner (although I have read that they can be a little hit and miss with the food) but also a great place for drinks if you're a milkshake kinda person. The staff is friendly and makes you feel right at home. I love the dedication to the country-theme of the place, right down to the flannel shirt uniforms.
Price: £ £ £ out of 5