El Barrio, the Spanish word for neighborhood, is the name of the latest hot spot in Heliopolis. El Barrio recreates a slice of Havana, with its distinct character and pure Latin flair.
We were guided through the menu by very attentive and friendly staff, who were ready to detail each dish. Their menu is based on some of the most popular Latin appetizers, some with a local twist. We decided on a couple of dips, Cheska’s Dip – named after the owner’s wife – and traditional Guacamole; Salmon Chevice, Jalapeno Poppers, Tequenos and Beef Chimichurri. Cheska’s Dip consisted of a blend of creamy cheese, tiny chopped tomatoes and a touch of Sriracha hot sauce, which offered a pleasant lift. The Guacamole dip was simple and delicious, and quickly scooped up with the tortilla chips that came with it. Plenty of crunchy tortilla triangles were also served with the Salmon Cheviche, which came on a bed of avocado puree.
The salmon definitely had the acidity that is expected from the lime used for marinating. We then moved on to our hot appetizers while sipping on our Sangria and Cuba Libre. First came the Tequenos, golden brown, panko breaded cheese sticks, served along a super spicy chili jam as a dipping sauce. Tread carefully with the dip unless you love it flammable. Following up, we had the Jalapeño Poppers – deep fried hallowed Jalapeno filled with cheese. The gooey melted cheese balanced the hot pepper intensity. The Beef Chimichurri could have been slightly under cooked but that is a personal preference. On the other hand the chimichurri sauce was true to its roots. We ended up our evening indulging ourselves on a mouthwatering Tres-Leches and a slice of Dark Chocolate Red Chili Cake.
Other Menu Options that Appealed & Beverages
Tacos and Empanadas are on our list along with a couple of signature cocktails. Beverages include Cold and hot drinks and a full-fledged bar.
Décor and Ambience
The Latin vibe hits you the second you walk into El Barrio. The place is divided into three distinct areas; a ground floor with a patio vibe, a terrace and indoors – which includes a cigar bar. Each section is so authentic in its’ detail that you feel you have been transported in time and place. There is a great sense of Latin flair, a reconstruction of a pre-Castro Cuba, with all its glamour. We would highlight the mix and match chandeliers on the terrace; the mirror cigar menu written in red lipstick; the beautiful Frida Kahlo portrait adorned with roses, and the Mexican-style altar in the indoor area. A single visit is not enough to absorb the rich detail of the interior.
Worth Noting: Cigar bar
Clientele Mix: Chic Heliopolis crowd and friends
Price Range: High-end
Address: 58 Beirut Street, Heliopolis
Working hours: 7 pm until late
Tel: 0121 299 9996
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