Some girlfriends and I ventured out to Barr’d wine and tapas bar in East Ivanhoe last night. It’s always exciting to get out without the Ankle Biters. It was probably about quarter to eight when we arrived. Tables and seating are out the front for fine weather and nicotine addicts. We were greeted by the sight of a woman seated alone, head cradled in arms, clearly drunk enough to be close to vomiting. Classy entrance.

Nonetheless we ventured in and claimed a table. Sadly the table next to the woman out front and her friends. They were all under weather and quite irritating given the tiny dimensions of the bar. On the bright side, the service at Barr’d is excellent and we had a jug of delicious sangria underway and tapas orders taken before we knew it.

We ordered far more tapas than could possibly fit on our tiny table so we requested it be brought in shifts, two dishes at a time. Which it was. Service really is very good. The first dishes to come out were saganaki and mushroom bruschetta both of which were delicious. The saganaki was steaming hot and cooked to melty perfection. The bruschetta a well balanced mix of mushroom and fetta with the mushrooms perfectly sauted so as to bring out the flavour but not make them at all soggy.

Next came barbecued quail in a lemon vinaigrette, Once again, cooked to perfection with just the right amount of vinaigrette. This dish was accompanied by braised chorizo and beans with turkish bread. Another winner. Next came calamari with a lemon hollandaise sauce. Not so good. The calamari was soggy and the sauce quite frankly awful. I suspect the sauce was not entirely made on the premises. At least I hope not for the Chef’s sake. This came with arancini served with chutney. The arancini themselves were slightly overcooked and the chutney was decidedly average. Last to appear was smoked salmon and mushroom agnolotti. The kitchen was back in form and the pasta was lovely.

By the time we’d finished all that, the drunk women next to us had long since left and the place was filled with boys who had their pants belted somewhere in the vicinity of their knees and girls wearing dresses containing less fabric that the average t-shirt. Which is so clever on cold winter’s night. Thursday night is all about some cheap drink deal so I assume that is what brought the youth of today in. We old birds were rapidly approaching the pumpkin hour and departed shortly before 11.

Barr’d is a welcome addition to sleepy old East Ivanhoe. It’s nice to have somewhere local to go for a bit of a chat and a drink.