An October week in Malta was the perfect antidote to the autumn London blues. We indulged in the obligatory game of ‘what if we lived here?’ and quickly discovered that we couldn’t afford it, or at least not in one of the traditional townhouses with Maltese balconies that we admired so much. Someone is certainly buying though; renovation work was taking place on every street that we passed, and we did a lot of walking.
We saved our poshest dinner destination to the last night of our break. Barracuda was recommended to us by a friend back in London, so did it live up to our high hopes?
The setting is stunning. It sits right on the front of the coast road, running towards St Julians Bay and has fabulous views across the harbour to Spinola Bay. Barracuda is very much a special occasion kind of place, you can tell by the way the front of house staff half fawn and half ignore you – just like home! Once we were seated, we had a lovely waiter for the rest of the evening and all was forgiven.
Having discovered that Maltese wine was a real treat, we opted for a bottle of the local white and it didn’t disappoint. I started with black mussels simmered in coconut milk, fresh lime, ginger, chilli and coriander, which smelt as delicious as it tasted. A. went for pan seared king Scottish scallops, truffle veloute, quail eggs and truffle caviar. We weren’t quite sure why the scallops were Scottish and not locally sourced on a fishing island like Malta. Both of our starters were delicious, but a word to the wise: Malta has not quite got the hang of starters, and despite the small size they are priced only a euro or two below the main course.
On to the main course and A. opted for a fish that I had never heard of – brown meagre, set on a lemon, dill and brown butter veloute. The third party in our relationship, Mr Google, reliably told us that it was a local fish similar to a sea bass in appearance. And A. said that it was very tasty indeed. I chose the black ravioli filled with grouper and red prawns served with a thermidor sauce – the pasta was a bit too thick and so slightly tough, but the filling and the sauce were rich, creamy and delectable.
We’d decided to have a real treat on our last night, and didn’t hold back on dessert. Barracuda does an excellent Crepes Marquis, with the crepes flamed theatrically at your table and then served with Grand Marnier, brandy and torrone ice cream. Wow! The orange sauce is bitter sweet and the textures are heavenly. Beautifully presented and we savoured every mouthful. We walked home along the seafront and up the hill back to our Airbnb, reflecting on what a wonderful week we’d had.
As a footnote, arriving back in London, we were saddened to hear that the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had been investigating government corruption in Malta, had been killed by a car bomb that day.
Barracuda is quite special, and a real treat – it would be a highlight to any holiday. It does come at a price though and our meal for two came in at around €120.
Loo Review (PMC Rating): ★★★★☆ Quirky! You step out onto a steep, stone spiral staircase, so not one for the unwary. There is a more accessible bathroom below the restaurant.
194/195 Main Street, St. Julians, Malta SLM05 Saturday, 14th October 2017