Ex-Barrafina Chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho to Open Sabor on Heddon Street in January
Sabor, the restaurant, bar and asador from ex-Barrafina chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho and business partner José Etura will open on London’s Heddon Street at the end of January 2018.
Sabor (meaning flavour in Spanish) will focus on capturing the flavours of the duo’s native Spain, taking diners on a journey from the tapas bars of Andalucia through to the asadors of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia.
Nieves and José met at London’s acclaimed Barrafina restaurants. Nieves began at the group’s Fino restaurant in 2003 going on to become the executive chef for Barrafina and Fino; a position she held for ten years. José spent ten years with Barrafina becoming the group’s general manager.
Sabor will have three distinct areas – a restaurant, bar, and upstairs asador – with each space offering diners a different taste of Spain. Nieves and Jose had a very clear vision for the design, and working with designer Michaelis-Boyd, took their inspiration from traditional Spanish restaurants and tapas bars.
The design retains some of the original character of the high ceilinged building including the worn timber floors and and existing brick walls, with Spanish design accents focused on the bar and kitchens.
Typically Andalucian tiles sourced from Southern Spain are used throughout, with distinct designs used in each area, covering the downstairs bar and both kitchens. A sweeping helical staircase connects the ground floor bar and restaurant to the first floor asador.
For Nieves open kitchens are an important part of the Spanish dining experience and will be at the very heart of Sabor, in both the restaurant and asador. In the restaurant, everything will be on show; guests seated on chairs, will share a counter with the chefs as they prepare the food, giving them an intimate view of the kitchen. As with typical Andalucian tapas bars, orders will be written on the limestone counter in chalk, so guests can see exactly what they have ordered.
An in-house fishmonger will prepare and serve fresh seafood, ordered by weight from a seafood counter alongside the kitchen. The seafood on offer will change daily, depending on what fish is available at the market that day. The menu will also feature regional dishes from right across Spain, including those from the Basque country and Catalonia, all given the Nieves touch. Dishes will include: wild rabbit empanadilla, and Jerusalem artichoke and jamon tortilla with sage alioli.
In the bar, and throughout Sabor, the Spanish drinks list will focus on vermouth and Spanish gins, alongside sherries, txakolis, Spanish wines and beers. The bar will serve draft vermouth from Riojan producer Martinez Lacuesta, alongside a further list of red and white vermouths from right across Spain, from Barcelona down to Jerez. The drinks list will also include eight different Spanish gins.
A spiral staircase will take guests up to the ‘asador’. With a distinctly different feel to downstairs, the asador will feature large sharing tables overlooking the open kitchen. At the centre will be the asador itself; a traditional wood fired oven, sourced by Nieves and José from Castille.
The menu in the asador will focus on specialities from the Galicia and Castile regions of Spain with Pulpo a Feira and suckling pig being mainstays on the menu. The pulpo a feira, will see octopus cooked in the traditional Galician way; in copper pans with olive oil and paprika, while the suckling pig will be cooked in the traditional Castilian asador oven.
Nieves said: “José and I are very happy to finally open Sabor and share our love for Spanish cooking and hospitality. It’s been a long held dream for both of us and we’re very excited to introduce guests to the different flavours of our native Spain, taking them on a journey right across the country.”