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La Barca, Waterloo/Southwark, London

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Serious old school Italian; chef is Calabrese, cooked in Tuscany.

The chicken liver pate is powerfully flavoured, the rich taste of liver, metallic, primal. This is nature red in tooth and claw, rustic and raw. Served with lightly toast slices with bread, almost crostini like in sum. Love liver and you'll love this.

Spaghetti a la barca is a nice test of technique -- the pasta baked in parchment paper with a variety of seafood. There's is still a good bite to the spaghetti, and the clams, mussels, prawn, squid and scallops are cooked just right. Gorgeous sauce, a nice shadow of spicy heat.

Profiteroles stuffed with cream was ordinary (not particularly stiff and crisp, but not flaccid either), the chocolate sauce was flat and sickly sweet.

Solid house red. Fairly balanced, with a good brush of acidity and earth, even if it's not particularly complex.

Perhaps a touch expensive (~£40 for all of this, including tip), but very good for carefully cooked classic Italian.

I'll probably be back to try some of the simpler and more inexpensive pasta dishes.

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  1. Thanks Limster........this would be a great place before or after a trip to the Old Vic or the South Bank area. It helps that I almost always use Waterloo so I may try a lunch there one of these days.

    1. This is one of the places the bosses use to entertain (certain) clients, we've been known to spend far too many hours in the place!

      I've always been partial to the lamb cutlet dish they do.

      1. Thanks to your suggestion we had a fantastic "pre Old Vic theatre" meal here. Your description of their spaghetti a la Barca is spot on. As is the dish. Great stuff.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Browners

          Thanks for an update, what else did you try there?

          1. re: limster

            I had some very good sardines, albeit quite plain. And our prawns in garlic butter were excellent too.

        2. Went here for a post-theatre meal the other night and really enjoyed it. I love old-school Italian places like this.

          I had a solid if unremarkable bresaola and we both had one of the specials for main - linguine with crab, which was a very generous portion, with lots of delicious, fresh crab. Simple but good. Mr GG had the seafood salad for a starter, one of his favourites, which he loved.

          I agree that it's a touch on the expensive side, but I'd go again. They have a pretty reasonable prix fixe which seems to be available at both lunch and dinner.