Bubala, led by Marc Summers (ex-General Manager of Berber & Q) and head chef Helen Graham (ex-The Palomar, The Barbary and The Good Egg), has been selling out pop-ups across London over the past year and now the Middle Eastern restaurant has found a permanent home in Spitalfields, taking over the old Gul & Sepoy site. Fittingly (bubala is a Yiddish term that loosely translates to darling and is often used by grandparents) the site is just metres away from where Marc’s grandfather lived, with Helen’s grandmother also having lived nearby on Brick Lane.
Bubala is inspired by the modern cafes of Tel Aviv and it also happens to be fully vegetarian. Helen brings with her some serious kitchen pedigree and with the bold flavours of Middle Eastern cooking on display, you won’t be missing the meat at all.
The standout dish of the night isn’t one for vegans though, unfortunately – the fried halloumi here is unbelievably good and reason to come here alone. Made by Kupros dairy in north London, the cheese itself is super soft (not rubbery at all like some halloumi) and is lightly fried at Bubala and drizzled with honey.
We also loved the confit potato latkes with garlicky toum; the hummus with burnt butter and pine nuts (make sure you order the laffa flatbread to go with it); and the fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup. For dessert, we took it pretty easy with some excellent little salted caramel truffles that make for a choice if you’ve already stuffed yourself silly.
We can definitely see ourselves coming back to Bubala. It’s the kind of food we love to eat and we didn’t find ourselves craving any meat dishes at all. One for the hit list.
65 Commerical Street, London, E1 6BD