Hummus has become a supermarket staple, falafel wraps are now a go-to lunch, and there’s never a bad time to have a kebab – the love affair between Londoners and Middle Eastern food is a deep one, so it’s no surprise that the Middle Eastern restaurant scene in the capital has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
You’ve never been short of places to have a kebab in London but not all kebab houses are created equally. There’s Mangal II in Dalston, run by original founder Ali Dirik’s sons Ferhat and Sertac, which serves up some of the best Turkish food in town, including the doner kebab made from scratch in-house. Berenjak in Soho, inspired by the hole-in-the-wall restaurants of Tehran, serves up epic authentic Persian kababs whereas Maison Bab in Covent Garden puts a modern spin on them – their pork shawarma, slow-cooked for 15 hours and served with chermoula mayo with some iskender fondue fries on the side is a winner.
Then there are the proper neighbourhood joints that you find yourself going back to time and time again. Israeli chef Oded Oren takes inspo from his home city of Tel Aviv at his spot Oren, where you can get dishes like Jerusalem mixed grill; monkfish ‘chraime’ & hand rolled cous cous; and chargrilled hake kebabs & sheep’s yoghurt. Bubala is a fully veggie spot where you won’t miss the meat thanks to confit potato latkes with garlicky toum and ried aubergine with zhoug.