What: Middle Eastern Mezze
Why: For the relaxed, friendly atmosphere and dishes to share
Where: Borough Market
Our Favourite Thing: Sujuk Pide (Turkish-style pizza bread with barbecued red peppers and spicy sausage)
Website: Click to visit
Arabica Bar & Kitchen is the ideal local if you’re looking for somewhere that’s relaxed and casual. Tucked away in a little corner of Borough Market, its chilled atmosphere, welcoming staff and interesting menu are perfect if you’re looking to unwind after a long day at the office.
A hop, skip and a jump from the bustle of the City, we felt instantly at ease walking into Arabica. Its diner-style layout, complete with bar seating and retro booths, lends the restaurant a friendly, social atmosphere. This is only helped by the warmth of our waitress who, despite being clearly very busy, still had time to crack a joke and make us feel very welcome.
We chose to kick off the evening with some cocktails. The Nana Ti (a Dark & Stormy) came specially recommended by our waitress and, as seasoned rum lovers, we quickly ordered a round. Though not the most original of drinks, we could tell very quickly why this cocktail was so popular – served in a very large glass and with a very liberal measure of Jamaican rum, the Nana Ti had been mixed perfectly and was an excellent pre-dinner palette cleanser/tongue loosener!
After this, our waitress took the time to talk us through some of what she felt were the most exciting dishes on the menu. Attentive and sincere, she showed real interest in us and what we fancied to eat, making us feel like we were the only diners in the restaurant even though, by this point, it was packed to the rafters. This care and attention really added to the evening, leaving us feeling very comfortable and confident that we were being looked after.
After recommending that we order at least 3 mezze dishes each, the waitress brought our food over gradually as soon as it was ready – just when we thought we were full, another amazing looking plate of food would arrive! A firm favourite among all us was the Sujuk Pide, Turkish-style pizza bread with barbecued red peppers, spicy sausage and halloumi cheese. Drizzled in olive oil, this doughy sensation sparked an audible chorus of ‘mmmmmms’ as each of us in turn took a bite.
Following our feast, it’s safe to say that we all looked and felt pretty bloated, but we couldn’t resist the waitress’ demand that we try some baklava for dessert. Served in bite size portions, this nutty, buttery delight was excellent. Soaked in honey and with a thick layer of pistachio filling, it was the perfect end to the meal.
All in all, Arabica Bar & Kitchen is a lovely place if you’re looking for somewhere that’s chilled out with friendly staff and good, interesting food that’s fun to share with your mates. (Turns out they’re also open in the mornings from Thursday – Saturday so you early risers out there could drop by for some breakfast!) We’ll definitely be going back.
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