hospitalitytoday.com | 5 On 8th February Jamie Oliver held a pre-launch party for his new West End mega-steakhouse restaurant Barbecoa, at 196 Piccadilly. The Hemsley sisters, Tanya Burr, Jim Chapman, Phillip Schofield, Ronan Keating and others celebrated the opening. Berry Bros. & Rudd house champagne, along with the new restaurant’s signature ‘Berkeley Blazer’ cocktail were served, and wines from the restaurant’s 2,500-bottle strong collection, alongside Barbecoa’s ‘signature’ dishes including scallop ceviche and pit beef. Barbecoa Piccadilly opened to the public on 13 February, and in its scale, location and all-day concept, clearly has ambitions to rival the legendarily successful Wolseley, Corbin & King’s flagship just 36 doors down Piccadilly. HT visited post-opening. “The classic steakhouse experience is reimagined with an elegant twist” is the theme. Barbecoa designed to be a showcase for all-day dining: fabulous breakfasts, decadent afternoon teas, a signature lunch and dinner menu and a big, panelled bar in a renovated, historic building that is much bigger inside than its entrance on Piccadilly implies. The first thing diners see on entering is the glass-fronted, salt-lined meat ageing cabinet, with cuts curing for up to 56 days. Reflecting Oliver’s dedication to sourcing from farmers and producers who share his food ethos, the meat at Barbecoa all comes from free-range, grass-fed animals. It is carefully selected by cut and chosen from the breed that gives the correct marbling content, shape and quality, then dry-aged between 35-55 days, to deliver “true depth of flavor”. Jay Rayner in his Guardian review said: “The real action is downstairs in a basement space which laughs in the face of economic cold winds and tight accounting. There are gorgeous jade green and ivory porcelain floor-to-ceiling wall panels. There’s parquet flooring and marble, art deco chandeliers you could ride in and, at the back end, a show kitchen boxed off with copper and glass. It’s full of clanking metal machinery for introducing bits of animal to fire.” The open kitchen lets diners see a range of traditional cooking techniques “to give each dish its own personality”. What must have been a massive investment by Oliver’s group sees a Japanese robata grill for slow cooking over charcoal, French vines and oak, a Spanish Mibrasa charcoal oven, an Argentinian grill, a Tandoor oven and a Texan smoker (which uses apple, oak and cherry wood to infuse the meat with extra flavour), making Barbecoa’s kitchen one of the best equipped in London for meat cookery.