Arabica

Why go here:

For Levatine food which means it serves a combination of Moroccan, Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian and Syrian dishes. It’s the best of the middle east under one roof.

What it looks like:

Fortunately, the restaurant isn’t like some of its fellow restaurants in terms of atmosphere, which are decked with belly dancers and shisha pipes. Arabica, housed right next to Borough Market has more of an industrial décor with the bare brick walls, candlelit tables and lean, geometric ceiling chandeliers. The restaurant also has seating outside which is popular in the summer for brunchers.

The food:

We definitely over ordered. I blame the menu since there were too many dishes that seemed too good to forego. But I don’t regret it one bit!

We started with Hummus with Herdwick lamb fillet. This simple but delicious dish is a must try! The fried, smokey minced lamb was served in a pool of ghee in the middle and topped with crunchy pine nuts and came with some freshly made pitta bread served in a little paper bag. The dishes here are all quite oily- they don’t taste greasy but you see the oily residues left in each plate as you finish up the food.

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Next we went for the courgette and three cheese manousheh, which was a very thin flatbread with courgette and lots of cheese- mascarpone, halloumi cheese, Westcombe ricotta and topped with roasted garlic oil, black sesame and red chilli. So much cheese, garlic and fresh, crispy bread. What’s not to like?

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We then moved on to the grilled wood pigeon prepared with pomegranate molasses and oregano and served with fresh radicchio, parsley and mint. The pigeon was juicy and tender and the sweet, sticky pomegranate molasses significantly boosted the taste.

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Finally, we got the Lamb Meshwi- lip-smacking, aromatic lamb kebabs served with a delectable walnut and harissa marinade and sumac salad.

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My Arabica Shake was Arabica’s take on a Frappuccino- coffee, cardamom, cocoa and halva ice-cream. It was sweet and indulgent but a bit heavy. The Lebanese lemonade or wine would be better accompaniments to the food. The Turkish coffee was great though- identical to what I’d had in istanbul’s cafes a few months back!

Verdict:

This is one of the best levante restaurants in London. The menu is extensive and every dish we ordered was beautifully prepared and delicious. It makes you realise that there’s a lot more to these cuisines than kebabs and falafel!

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