Berber & Q Shawarma Bar

Restaurants, Middle Eastern Clerkenwell
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
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Exmouth Market offshoot of the trendy Middle Eastern grillhouse.

Expel thoughts of the elephant’s leg of mystery meat – thanks to chef Josh Katz and his Middle Eastern grillhouse Berber & Q, shawarma just got sexy. And because, for some people, Haggerston is a bit of a pilgrimage, they’ve done the decent thing and opened one smack bang in the middle of Exmouth Market. Replete with hanging greenery and exposed masonry, this pocket-sized shawarma bar is the kind of place you’ll want to bring friends for a boozy catch-up (my favourite cocktail name: The Dirty Sultan).

The menu is a scaled-down version of the one at the original, with a focus on spit-roasted meat – lamb, chicken or beef served in a rice bowl, on a sharing plate or in a pita. But rest easy, veggies: there’s also a cauli shawarma (nicely jewelled with juicy sultanas), and the mezze is entirely meat-free. Blackened aubergine had a double hit of chilli and anchovy, every drop of oil swept up with toasted challah bread. Moist mejaderah (a Levantine mix of rice and lentils), crackly fried onions, tangy lime pickle, a veiny pickled egg, fiery harissa and a generous dollop of tahina were all sublime, but didn’t upstage the butter-basted lamb. Beef brisket, though, lacked spice and was smoked to the point of brittleness. One gripe – for essentially a deconstructed pita, £14 for the rice bowl seemed a little steep, especially when the mezze (five for £22.50) is such a steal.

But with the desserts – vanilla soft-serve spiked with chunks of halva then doused in unsweetened caramel sauce, and a sensuously wobbly cardamom panna cotta, dotted with rose petals – all was forgiven. Do I regret not ordering the ice-cream pita sandwich I spied before leaving? Of course. Will I be back to this trendy little bolthole for round two? Absolutely.

By: Megan Carnegie


Venue name: Berber & Q Shawarma Bar
Address: 46 Exmouth Market
Opening hours: Mon-Thu midday-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Fri midday-3pm, 5pm-11.30pm; Sat midday-4pm, 5pm-11.30pm; Sun closed.
Transport: Tube: Angel
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £70.
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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Shona R

The spin off their larger venue in the hoxton train arches, the shawarma bar hosts some nice bite size sharing plates, but also rice bowls available for take-away.  The food here is so good! It's easy to walk straight past on the busy strip of exmouth market to the more well-known venues like caravan or morito, but this place will not disappoint!

The cocktails are equally as good, so even if its for a date night in the back half of the restaurant and mood lighting.. you can't really go wrong

Sarah B

The aroma escaping Berber&Q's Shawarma Bar is enough to drag any searching and salivating soul off of Exmouth Market and into it's richly decorated and dimly-lit den, although it had been on my list for a while! Half of their divinely spiced rotisserie chicken and five mezze plates (on offer for £22.50) filled our table for two and inevitably our stomachs. Whilst the mezze felt a little hit and miss the flavours were bold and colourful and the generous portion of tingling chicken served with sumac-dusted garlic yoghurt more than made up for it. Whatever your poison, the friendly faces who work there will know what refreshing beer or cocktail you ought to go for and you'll be grateful for it! I'll certainly be back to explore the rest of the menu...

Angela L

We ordered pretty much from all parts of the menu on Saturday night (which we pre-booked as we were a table of 6).  We also ordered wine and cocktails.  I have to say the cauliflower rice bowl in itself was enough and you don't really need any starters but it was good to taste anyway.  Highly recommend the first dessert on the menu which was a vegetarian style pannacotta with proper wobble!

Dave L

Loved the original in Haggerston so was v keen to try this out before it gets too crowded. We went on a thursday night and there was only about a 30 min wait. Everything we tried was superb. The rice bowls are a meal in themselves and v satisfying. The lamb shawarma was epic, particularly wrapped in lettuce with the other accoutrements. It feels more grown up than the original. Will be back to try the pitas. 

Alex H

Set in the lovely Exmouth Market. Nice décor , very busy on a Wednesday night and you cannot book for dinner. We tried a combination of tapas, a rice bowl and a pita. I thought the rice bowl was the best. The tapas was fine but very similar to other restaurants in the area, which are better. The rice bowl and the pita were very tasty and interesting. We ordered the hose beer which was very nice. The wine seemed very expensive. For 2 small beers, a rice bowl,  shawarma pita and 3 tapas it came to around £40 with tip.