It’s quite a feat to come up with a resto name that’s a pun without being a) so clever that no one gets it or b) eye-wateringly banal. Fortunately Josh Katz’s Berber & Q (grilled North African cuisine) has struck a happy medium. Opening next month within the railway arches of Haggerston, the venue takes influence from London, Marrakesh, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and New York. Katz (Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Ottolenghi and Zest) grew up in North London with all its falafel shops and Shawarma houses and has also explored Turkey’s Mangal restaurants, the food stalls of Jmaa al Fna in Marrakesh and the Shipudim in Tel Aviv.
Food prepared on the open charcoal grill and smoker comes served on communal mess trays. Meats will include Lamb Mechoui – pulled forequarter of lamb eaten by hand with cumin salt for dipping, Quail with rose and plum yoghurt, and Beef Kefta with walnut and apricot. Veggie options feature Blackened aubergine with walnut and tahini and Glazed beetroot with date syrup and whipped feta.
Co-founder, Mattia Bianchi (Ottolenghi) will oversee the wine list from small producers in Europe along with lesser- known bottles from Morocco and Turkey. Otherwise try the Middle Eastern cocktails made using Lebanese Arak, homemade bitters, syrups, infused spirits and liquors and including the SazARAK, Haggerstoned and the Labaneeza . Guest lagers from local breweries such as London Fields, Crate and the Redchurch Brewery will be served on tap.
The location under the railway arches is a former disused taxi rank with an unpromising sounding exterior of rusty, corrugated metal sheeting giving way to a rather more inviting interior of booths with sackcloth cushions and long, communal sharing tables made from railway sleepers.
Berber & Q, opens April 2015, Arch 338, Acton Mews, London, E8 4EA, www.berberandq.com
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