Middle Eastern

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108 Golborne Rd, London W10 5PS, UK
  • Monday: 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:30 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 12:30 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 12:30 – 9:00 PM

Fans of counter dining, you’re in luck because The Counter in Notting Hill is exactly what it says on the tin. At The Counter, the dining room is set up with an open kitchen and ocakbasi grill as the central feature with, of course, a counter around it where guests can sit and have a peek at all the grilling action. The food takes inspiration mainly from the southeastern Anatolia region, with a menu of seasonal dishes, including the likes of chocolate babaganoush, humus & Medjool dates, kebabs, koftas, stews and desserts such as kireçte kabak (pumpkin, clotted cream, tahini and dukkah) and supangle (dark chocolate pudding with a pistachio crumb). There are plenty of Turkish wines on the drinks list alongside cocktails and traditional Turkish soft drinks, so there really is something for everyone.

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Arch 25, Old union yard arches, 229 Union St, London SE1 0LR, UK
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM

Bala Baya, from Israeli born chef Eran Tibi, is all about bringing a taste of Tel Aviv to Southwark and there’s no better way to dive in than with the Brunch Feast. Kick off with a sharing selection of mezze, including pink tarama, labneh & za’atar, and some of the best tahini in town alongside plenty of fluffy pitas for dipping. Then it’s onto mains – we particularly rate the Fish Clouds, herb-packed smoked haddock fish cakes with tarama, fennel & apple salad and a poached egg, and the Breakfast Brisket Doughnut, rich beef brisket with bonfire tomato & chilli and spiced jus, served on a Tunisian doughnut with amba tahini and a fried egg. It’s a bit like a Middle Eastern-meets-BBQ take on an eggs benny and it’s real good. You finish off with a taster trio of puds – quince pudding with a meringue top and creme anglaise, burnt pistachio babka with blackberry compote, and coconut malabi with black tahini – saving you the trouble of trying to choose between them. Add on a jug of gazoz soda (which you can spike with booze if you’re so inclined) and you’ve got yourself a real good time.

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17 Little Portland St, London W1W 8BP, UK
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Thursday: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: Closed

You can probably tell just by the name of this place that it ain’t ya average restaurant. And we wouldn’t have expected anything less from chef John Javier (@sex.pesto) who’s been cooking at hugely hyped pop-ups in London over the past couple of years. The Tent (at the End of the Universe) is his latest project and, having opened earlier in the year for members only in a new spot on Little Portland Street, the restaurant is now open for everyone to go and check out. It’s a very small dark room and the vibe is basically a deluxe dessert Bedouin tent with a star lit ceiling, hanging moon lights and tent-like fabric covering the walls – told you it wasn’t your average spot. There’s just a few tables plus decks where a DJ sits playing tunes each night on a ridiculously good sound system. Photos are forbidden so you can give yourself a night off the ‘gram. It’s all very unusual but we loved it for that. The food fits largely along a Middle Eastern route, but with several twists along the way, like hummus with chilli oil and burnt lime, tzatziki dressed with wakame oil, and Iberico pork schnitzel with a katsuobushi mayo.

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15 Poland St, London W1F 8QE, UK
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 4:00 PM

We’ve been big fans of Bubala ever since it opened in Spitalfields in 2019 so we were very excited to hear that founder Marc Summers had a second site on the way. Open in Soho on the site where Vasco & Piero used to be, the new 50-cover Bubala has the same vibe interiors-wise, with plaster walls, light wood, natural tones, plants dotted about the place, and counter seating at the (bigger) bar, and it follows the same formula of serving up excellent veggie Middle Eastern food. Executive Chef Helen Graham has kept many of the hit dishes from the Spitalfields restaurant, including the labneh with confit garlic, the honey-drenched halloumi and the confit potato latkes, but added some newbies that make use of the restaurant’s yakitori grill, like Chinese cabbage & preserved lime and oyster mushroom & tamari skewers, and corn ribs with black garlic pipelchuma, and every single dish is a hit.

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45 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8TR, UK
  • Monday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Some restaurants win you over as soon as you walk in the door and Nandine in Camberwell is one of them. The homespun decor – plywood, pink painted brickwork, rattan lampshades and cute little vases of flowers on each table – charms you and then the kitchen keeps you enthralled with the food. Founded by Pary Baban, Nandine is a celebration of Kurdish food (Nandine means ‘kitchen’ in Kurdish). After she was displaced from her home in Kurdistan under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Pary spent time with relatives across the country, during which she collected recipes and documented regional dishes. She came to the UK in 1995, settling in South London, and started to sell Kurdish food in Elephant & Castle in 2007, before opening Nandine on Vestry Road in 2016 and then expanding to this site on Church Street. The food is packed with flavour, from the beaut beharat fries to the Kurdish dumplings to the stew tapsi; the portions are generous; and Nandine does some of the best baklava in London, so get down there for a true taste of Kurdish food.

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55 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9SH, UK
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 2:45 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:45 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:45 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:45 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 1:00 – 3:45 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Yeni, opened in Soho by Cem Bilge and chef Civan Er, the founders of Yeni Lokanta in Istanbul, opened on Beak Street in 2019. It’s a lovely space with double-height ceilings, whitewashed brick walls, hand-blown glass chandeliers, Levantine tiles adding pops of colour, and an open kitchen at the heart of the room, all combining to transport you to Turkey as soon as you step inside. That’s continued on the menu, which is a modern take on Turkish food that draws inspo from Civan’s childhood in Istanbul and the rich history of Anatolian cuisine. There’s a carte blanche option if you want the chefs to do the choosing for you but if you go a la carte don’t miss the freshly grilled Tava bread and smoked butter; the beef manti in double fermented yoghurt sauce, the citrus salad of pomelo, orange, grapefruit and fennel, topped with spicy sour cherry sorbet; and the lamb cooked over the wood fire.

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Harrods, 87 135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, UK
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00 PM

Beirut is one of our favourite cities in the world – and a big part of that is down to the incredible food. Now, one of the city’s hottest restaurants, Em Sherif, has arrived in London taking over a corner spot in Harrods. Em Sherif was founded by Mireille Hayek in Beirut in 2011 and has since expanded across the region, into Egypt, Qatar and Kuwait to name a few – the Harrods location is the first in Europe. the menu reads like a catalogue of classic Lebanese dishes with a few modern, attention-grabbing twists like the hummus topped with grilled wagyu beef. Other must-orders include manoushe bread with zaatar, fattoush, tabouleh, and spiced tomato salad. You can’t move for shawarma in Beirut so it’s only right to get a lamb shawarma here too and you can choose to have a wrap or as a bowl where you can kinda DIY it with flatbreads, sauces and pickles.

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6g Esther Anne Pl, London N1 1WL, UK

Israel and Japan don’t seem like obvious partners food-wise but restaurateur and Sumosan founder Janina Wolkow, Executive Chef Buber Belkhit and Head Chef Jeremy Borrow are here proving that the two belong together with their restaurant Jiji, just off Upper Street in the Islington Square development. It’s all very luxe with a shiny open kitchen in the corner, marble tables and jewel-tone velvet seating. In reality, the menuat Jiji is a mix of distinct Japanese and Middle Eastern dishes rather than the fusion of two on one plate, so you get things like scallop nigiri with unagi sauce, onglet with smoked aubergine cream, sando schnitzel, and roast cauliflower with ezme salad. You won’t find many menus that take you from spicy tuna rolls to aubergine with Israeli salad and feta but if you like the flavours of Tokyo and Tel Aviv, you’ll find a lot to love at Jiji.

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59 Wells St, London W1A 3AE, UK
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM

Another of Ottolenghi’s restaurants, ROVI holds vegetables in high regard with a focus on fermentation and cooking over fire. We’re talking dishes like grilled octopus with borlotti bean piyaz, preserved lemon & sumac tropea onion; saddleback pork chops with charred peppers, pistachio & lime salsa; and Jerusalem mixed grill with baharat onions, pickles, pita & tahini. The restaurant is centered around a large central bar with cocktails based on seasonal spices and house shrubs, and a dynamic low-intervention wine list from small producers. A great addition to Ottolenghi’s culinary catalogue of restaurants.

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21-22 Warwick St, London W1B 5NE, UK
  • Monday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Nopi is Yotam Ottolenghi’s Soho spot and the all-day restaurants celebrates bold flavours and inspired takes on Middle Eastern cooking with dishes like courgette and manouri fritters, coriander seed-crusted burrata with slices of blood orange and Valdeón cheesecake. Their cocktail menu isn’t lacking in creativity either, with classic serves alongside spice-infused bevvies like the sumac negroni, rose & cardamom gimlet and cherry & pine nut old fashioned.

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Old union yard arches, London SE1 0LR, UK

Hidden within the Union Street arches in Southwark, Bala Baya puts its own vibrant twist on Israeli cuisine. Not only does the restaurant takes inspiration from those bright Middle Eastern flavours, but the decor also mimics the Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv. Highlights on the menu include Bala Baya’s prawn baklava, kebab dumplings, and Tunisian tartar, which are meant to be shared in true Middle Eastern style. If you find yourself struggling to choose, you can opt for a journey through the menu as curated by head chef Eran Tibi.

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338 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA, UK
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

The older brother of the Berber & Q shawarma bar, the OG Berber & Q specialises in smoked and grilled dishes with a range of Middle Eastern influences. The vegetables are shown the same amount of love as the meat with dishes like cauliflower shawarma and grilled broccoli with muhammara & garlic crisps sure to have any self-respecting vegetarian writhing in ecstasy. Carnivores can also get hot-smoked merguez sausage, coffee-rubbed pork belly and low-and-slow lamb mechoui hot off the grill too.

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