Restaurant Review: The Barbican Kitchen, Plymouth by Sue Stoneman

I was very excited to find out that I was heading to the Barbican Kitchen in Plymouth.  Recently celebrating it’s 12th birthday, we were invited along to sample the summer menu.  The Barbican Kitchen is run by The Tanner Brothers, Chris & James.

I first saw The Tanner Bros demo at Flavour Fest, Plymouth’s Food & Drink festival a couple of years ago and the restaurant has been on my ‘places to eat’ list for a while.  The Barbican Kitchen is situated inside the Plymouth Gin Distillery.


With our table booked for 7pm, my friend and I arrived in Plymouth in plenty of time to have a bimble around the harbour and have a drink in one of the many bars and cafes there.

Heading into the building, it looked like you would be dining among the copper stills but a short climb up some stairs takes you into the charming galley style restaurant.

It seemed natural to have a Plymouth Gin whilst we perused the menu once shown to our table by our waitress, Ellen, and nibbled on some sticky chorizo (glazed in honey) and padron peppers recommended to us and were assured they would not fill our rumbling tummies too much!


There was a good selection of starters to choose from. The ‘little dishes’ choices were Soup, Mackerel Taco, Chicken Liver Parfait, Salt Baked Beetroot Risotto, Devilled Whitebait, Tomato Bruschetta, Crab Salad and Bolognese Arancini.

I was having trouble deciding until I noticed the ‘Specials’ starter which was Beetroot and Plymouth Gin cured Salmon. I ordered that and my friend went for the Mackerel Taco as it was something she had not tried before.

We each had a glass of Viognier which Ellen said would go well with all of the dishes which we had chosen.  Both starters came not long after we had ordered and were very well presented and tasted delicious. The Taco was particularly tasty and the piece of mackerel was a good size.

For the Main Event, there was plenty to choose from (Vegetarian and Vegans can be fed too) as well as having the opportunity to create your own steak (different cuts and varying prices) from the Charcoal Grill with a choice of sauces, chips and potatoes.

I chose the Beef Short Rib for mains as I have never eaten nor cooked these before and knowing they would have to be cooked for a long time over a low heat, I was eager to find out what they tasted like.

It came with marrow fat mash served separately and the rib was garnished with a roasted onion, tiny girolle mushrooms, broad beans and a rich glossy sauce.  The rib was soft, juicy and tasty and the meat fell apart when cut with my knife.

My friend chose from the ‘Specials,’ Day Boat Cod which came with three little balls of fish cakes, cauliflower puree and roasted cauliflower, deep fried cavolo nero and a chicken jus.  She really enjoyed this and just about managed to eat it all. We had ordered sides of carrots and beans but we probably didn’t need them.

Not sure if we had room for dessert but I had to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding.  The sponge was lovely, warm and light and slid down with the ice cream.  My friend chose to have the Dark Chocolate Fondant which was beautifully presented.

We expected to see an upturned chocolate dome being a fondant, but this was a delicate pastry tart case filled with the smoothest creamiest chocolate fondant and served with caramelized banana and ice cream.  Both plates scraped clean! There were other choices of desserts including ice creams and a cheese board.

Diners get a very good choice of dishes from the set dinner menu which is excellent value, or you can pay a bit more and have a wider choice of dishes from the main menu where dishes are individually priced.  The Barbican Kitchen would make an ideal place to eat following your Gin tour or pre-theatre trip. Why not even combine a shopping trip with lunch or dinner  and a walk around the busy harbour or even an after work treat.

This was a lovely meal and the restaurant had a cosy relaxing atmosphere, great tasting freshly cooked food which is all locally sourced and the staff were very efficient and friendly – thoroughly recommended.


Lunch: Mon-Sat 12noon – 2.30pm

Dinner: Mon-Thurs 6pm-7.30pm & Fri & Sat 5pm-7pm

Set Dinner Menu: 2 course £15.95 or 3 course £18.95

Main menu:  starters £5.50 – £12.50, mains £13.95 – £18.95, desserts £5.95 – £7.50

Where is it?

Barbican Kitchen, Plymouth Gin Distillery, 60 Southside Street, Plymouth PL1 2LO

Telephone: 01752 604448





This was a hosted visit.

The Tanner Brothers also have another restaurant called The Kentish Hare in Kent, 95 Bidborough Ridge, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 0XB  Telephone 01892 525709


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