Here's something for all you zeitgeist-chasers: a chance to immerse yourself in the bright, bold, megs-trendy flavours of the Middle East, while at the same time doing something for a very worthy cause. Step forward, #CookforSyria. A celebration of Syrian food in aid of Unicef UK’s Children of Syria fund, this campaign comes from Instagram maestro Clerkenwell Boy and Suitcase Magazine’s Serena Guen.
My favourite event is what I like to think of as a ‘Syrian specials board’. Throughout November, over fifty London restaurants will put a Syrian-inspired dish on their menus, with £2 from every sale going to the fund.
But quick! November will be over in a flash, so here are 27 of the most exciting spots to get you started, complete with a map (because who doesn’t love a map?)
Each recipe (and more, from the likes of the Hemsley sisters and Symmetry Breakfast) will be in a stunning cookbook, too (£25, on pre-order from www.amazon.co.uk). Xmas pressies: sorted.
1. Berber & Q
Aleppo kofte kebab with blackened chilli sauce (£14).
2. Chick ‘n’ Sours
Crispy chicken, Syrian hamud, rose and pomegranate (£tbc).
Adelaide St 3 and Drury Lane 4
Grilled quail, green harissa, pomegranate and date sauce (£tbc).
King’s Cross N1 5 and Exmouth Market EC1 6
House sesame labneh, rye sourdough flatbread, charred green chilli, zhoug (£7.50).
7-11. Salt Yard Group
Dehesa W1 7, Ember Yard W1 8, Opera Tavern WC2 9, Salt Yard W1 10, Veneta SW1 11
Slow-cooked Syrian spiced lamb shoulder with flatbread (£10).
Syrian beef tartare (£19).
13. Dock Kitchen
Kensal Rise W10
Pistachio and nutmeg cake (£7).
Date-baked labneh, beetroot cardamom purée, spiced meringue, hazelnut coriander crisp.
11 White’s Row E1
Grilled aubergine with beef keema and pine nuts kachumber (£12).
16. Honey & Co
Msabacha – warm chickpeas (£5).
Beef brisket curry, Ceylonese stretched roti, walnut chickpea and pistachio sambol, smoked aubergine and pomegranate raita, oxtail pickle (£16).
Sabudana vada – muhammara, sesame raita, coriander (£5).
Pheasant kebab (exact price tbc, but approximately £4.50).
20. The Marksman
Pickled aubergine, salt lemon and chilli (exact price tbc, but approximately £4.50).
Hackney Road, Hackney E2
Syrian fattoush salad (£7).
Winter fattoush with tamarind sticky beef, roasted pears, cavalo nero, bitter leaves and crispy baharat bread (£12).
Islington 23, Belgravia 24, Spitalfields 25, Notting Hill 26
Winter fattoush with tamarind sticky beef, roasted pears, cavalo nero, bitter leaves and crispy baharat bread (exact price tbc).
27. Paradise Garage
Bethnal Green E2
Spiced quail, maqluba, fennel, pomegranate and mint salad (£36 for two).