Where: Rico Libre, Barn Street, Digbeth, B5 5QD
When: breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 08:00; tapas is served from noon Monday to Friday, and on Friday and Saturday evenings from 17:00.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard news on the grapevine that the Barn Street Diner had changed owners and was now serving tapas.
Calamari, mussels and meatballs
Now, in Digbeth we have a variety of cuisine available, there are the stalwart greasy spoons and takeaways, the now very popular Karczma Polish restaurant on Bordesley Street, and of course, the award-winning Digbeth Dining Club. Tapas, however, is a novelty so of course I had to go check it out.
Before making my way over to Barn Street, I spoke to Karen, who is overseeing Rico Libre Breakfast and Tapas along with Chef H, and she had this to say:
Halloumi, patatas bravas and garlic mushrooms
We like a good breakfast as much as the next person, but tapas is where our heart really lies. We love, love, love tapas; making it, messing around with new dishes, eating it, sharing it with friends… yup tapas is where it’s at for us!
So we’ve taken the standard breakfast menu and jazzed it up a little and added a few new dishes (Mexican Egg Breakfast, an Eggs Benedict and a Big Godfather Breakfast) alongside all the usual suspects.
Lunchtime sees us offering a cold deli sandwich and salad menu alongside a few simple hot lunches (Homemade fish bites, meatballs, juicy cheeseburger with crispy bacon).
For those looking for something different then we also also run our tapas menu from noon Monday to Friday, and on Friday and Saturday evenings from 17:00.
With this in mind, I got together a group of local Digbeth residents – all foodies in their own right – to taste what Rico Libre has to offer. Safe to say, we weren’t disappointed!
We tried everything on the menu, and it was all delicious. Every single little bit was tasty, from the garlic mushrooms to the generous portion of mussels, from the bread to the potatoes. It was so good, that even when we were full, we wouldn’t allow the food to beat us and finished every single scrummy morsel on the table.
Chef H discovered a passion for tapas (and honed his craft) while living in the Balearics for a few years. You can tell that he loves tapas from the care placed in preparing each dish, and his cheerful demeanour in the kitchen.
Chef H and friendly server Gemma
The team at Rico Libre have been sensible (in my opinion) by only offering evening tapas dining on Fridays and Saturdays initially. However, we hope that they will go from strength to strength and thereby increase their opening hours. Yes, Barn Street is a little bit out of the way, but going off the beaten track is where you find little gems like Rico Libre.
With three tapas dishes for just £10 and a ‘bring your own’ policy on alcohol, we’ll certainly be back. I just hope that we’ll be able to find a table and it doesn’t get too popular! For more information and to see the full menu, visit the Rico Libre website here.
Long live Rico Libre!