We are known for our love of East Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern food. Places like Moro, Ottolenghi, and the likes have thankfully brought a selection of these century old flavours and plant-based dishes to the London food scene, and although, whilst delicious, their interpretations still aren’t quite the real deal. However, these restaurants have helped to set the record straight--there is so much more to the food from this region than grilled meat, kebabs or lavash bread. Think fragrant wild herbs, a plethora of pulses, sun-kissed fruits and vegetables all combined exquisitely to create balanced and healthy dishes cleverly dressed with pickles and spices and using cooking techniques adapted for the climate--these are things we love to see on a plate!
On the day we read Jay Rayner’s review of Yeni (a new restaurant in Soho we love), we met Marc and Helen of Bubala at Untitled Bar in Dalston. The menu they created for their 50 odd guests that night included a selection of snacks like pumpkin tirshy and a dish of Anglum (british halloumi) with green chilly, mango and chilli tomatoes. We thought the mango was a great touch and paired well with the halloumi (who would have thought?). Our main sharing plates included a simple and juicy mushroom skewer, a kohlrabi salad with kumquat and hazelnuts, both of which were incredibly tasty. A large bowl of candied celeriac mejadra and sour cherries was the stand out dish of the night in terms of depth and flavour, though it was the least refined but definitely the most delicious.
Bubala is a pop-up run by Marc Summers, formerly of Berber & Q and Helen Graham who spent some time with Palomar, Barbary and The Good Egg. A supper club is only a success if you have a good crowd to match your great food and we think Bubala has managed to crack this winning combination. With the exception of the couple who brought their cat to dinner - and we don't think this was an animal rights related performance - the crowd really bonded over the food and we are looking forward to the next one!
And, we do hope that Jay gets to really see how brilliantly Bubala (and Yeni) are for modernising some of the most loved vegetarian dishes from the region. Or maybe he’ll just be content writing about the food he enjoyed on his summer holiday to Turkey or the offerings from the kebab shops in Dalston? For his sake, we hope for the former.