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.
|Venue name:||Berber & Q Shawarma Bar||Contact:|
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.|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £70.|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
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The sister of Berber & Q in Haggerston, Shawarma Bar offers a delicious selection of Israeli / Mediterranean cuisine, ranging from meats to mezze andspecialist hummus plates. For those who have only tried shawarma from kebab joints at 2am, Berber & Q’s rendition of this meal will be a revelation (albeit at £17, pricier than your local). Don’t make my mistake and fill up on pitta and hummus too soon (even if the “Iraqi” is divine). The venue itself is a bit cramped, and when we were there, extremely noisy – so you may have to spend your time enjoying your meal rather than conversing too deeply, but well worth a trip.
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!
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.