Berber & Q has been on my to do list for quite some time and whilst I still haven’t made it there I have now been to its sister restaurant Shawarma Bar at Exmouth Market. The team have brought these high quality cooked on a spit kebabs to us and with the restaurant situated in the middle of food heaven just north of Farringdon station it’s a welcome addition. If you’ve never been to this part of town before but you love food you need to get there quick. There’s everything from street food stalls, to Vietnamese and Italian cuisine, and even a butchers/restaurant serving only steak and tuna – check out what’s on offer here.
Berber & Q team are known for their middle eastern flavours and Shawarma Bar is no exception. We started off our lunch with a couple of small plates and chollah bread. Chollah bread is a light braided Jewish bread with a shiny golden crust which can be enjoyed on its own or how I enjoyed it here laden with these yummy dishes. The Blackened aubergine with chilli and anchovy (blog photo) was like nothing I’d ever tried before. A creamy yet earthy like dip it was packed full of flavour with a kick of chilli and sweetness of pomegranate seeds. The Marinated peppers with whipped feta on the other hand was juicy, fresh and sweet again complimenting the bread perfectly.
As it was lunch and I was attempting to be relatively healthy, as much as you can be when you write a food blog, I ordered the Sumac & allspice smoked brisket rice bowl. The rice bowl was one of the prettiest dishes of food for a mid-range restaurant I’ve ever been served. From the colours popping out against the crisp white plate to the tea stained boiled egg taking centre place. The smell and aroma coming off the dish before I even tucked in was to die for with a mix of spice, coriander and smokiness. The rice bowl was layered with tahina, spiced rice and lentils, crispy onion, tomatoes, red cabbage, creme fraiche, green chilli, boiled egg and meat. Lamb Kofta is the signature but I’d had a lot of Lamb over the last couple of weeks so went for the brisket instead. The whole dish was an absolute delight with the meat tender and rich, coupled with the creamy tahina and fresh citrus vegetables. There was a very mild hint of chilli every now and then adding another depth to the dish and the boiled egg was cooked perfect with a slightly soft and runny egg yolk.
The restaurant has an industrial, rustic feel and whilst busy and energetic it was also pretty chilled. Shawarma Bar also offer a takeaway service if you’d prefer to grab something quick on your lunch break and with a range of interesting cocktails it would make a great evening dinner venue too.
Shawarma Bar, 46 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE
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