That’s not to say that Barnyard isn’t unique – it offers something contemporary and certainly refreshes an otherwise drab stretch of restaurants on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia.
So, first things first, the no reservations concept proved a little tricky for the gruff staff considering our review had been booked in, but finally we found a spare table near the windows and looked out over the lengthy bar and larger restaurant area at the rear.
The interiors are sweet, rustic and with clever design touches keeping it the right side of twee: staff in checked shirts offering just the right amount of Barnyard-chic.
First up was corn bread, and I admit, my first foray into the substantial treat. As such I have absolutely no comparison to offer, but as far as I can gather it was excellent.
Next up was the famous sausage roll that restaurant critics have been tumbling head over heels about – it was excellent quality and clearly expertly put together, but it was just too meaty for our tastes.
The proportions of pastry to filling just didn’t work for me, but I’m prepared to bow down to the greater knowledge of the aforementioned critics and recommend you give it a whirl.
The chicken wings in paprika, garlic and lemon were outlandishly good though, and completely topped the meal for us.
Sides were great (a hearty cabbage dish was hefty and moreish) although lighter additions would have been welcomed to accompany the substantial and meaty mains.
Cocktails, also known as Shandies at Barnyard, were also very good with refreshing combinations that kept a good balance between bitter and fruity (I had the Hedgerow Shandy).
The unusual Shakes and Meads on offer set the drinks menu apart and clearly outline this as a serious bar offering in its own right too, and in fact the kitchen shuts every afternoon but the bar remains open all day.
Barnyard is one to use when you need a quick fix of serious food in a playful setting, and it manages to bridge the gap between formal and informal dining via Ollie’s excellent cooking, serious ingredient choices, and the relentless pursuit of something just off the beaten track.
Disclaimer: we were invited to review Barnyard, but this does not affect what we write – we only ever write what we think – view our editorial policy here.