Why go here:
For BBQ dishes inspired by the Middle East and North Africa.
What it looks like:
Located in Haggerston, the new and upcoming hipster neighbourhood between Shoreditch and Dalston, Berber & Q was packed with people even on a Tuesday night inspite of its recent opening and its hip location in a back street railway arch. With dim lighting, a combined bar and open kitchen and minimal wooden seating, the place definitely looks more like a club than a restaurant.
My only complaint was that the tables which were by the bar and the street-side windows were particularly narrow and log-like, so that placing and balancing our several ordered dishes on there seemed like quite the struggle.
We started off with some exciting cocktails- mine had a tequila base with sweet pistachio syrup, which was very refreshing. My friend got the ‘Guy Berber’, which ironically was super pink and pretty. It had a lovely blend of orange liquer, raki, lime and pomegranate in a vodka base.
The food here is a mix of small and large portions, so you can share a couple of small ones or choose individual large portions. We decided to share a few veg and meat dishes starting with the blackened aubergine with tomato and garlic and yoghurt. The aubergine and garlic yoghurt formed a silky smooth texture while the runny eggs added a fun twist to the smoky, zesty aubergine.
Next came the joojeh chicken thighs and the hand pulled lamb. The chicken had a hint of saffron and paprika and had a wonderful charcoal-smoked flavor. But once I’d tasted the lamb, the chicken seemed fairly boring. The lamb was beautifully roasted in cumin, garlic and coriander was extremely tender and was served with freshly baked pita bread.
The final dish was the cauliflower shawarma, which was surprisingly my favourite. The blackened florets with the home-made tahini and yoghurt dressing with a smattering of pomegranate seeds was a winning combination.
Service was very efficient and friendly. The waitress was so delighted by us having cleared all the dishes we ordered, she introduced us to the head chef, who was equally down-to-earth and humble.
This is barbecued food with a wonderful Turkish and Moroccan twist. It’s the kind of BBQ that even veggies can enjoy without being restricted only to Halloumi. The cocktails are also spot-on and service is very attentive. There has been a lot of hype about this new kid on the block and it definitely feels justified.