|honey and co. food from the middle east|
there is this humble little middle eastern diner on warren street. it’s not the kind of place i’d expect to find something as special as honey and co. but in london something new opens every day in the most improbable of places (think sushi of shiori on drummond street). i saw it a couple of months ago and put it on my list of ‘places i want to eat’, but then i have a list for so many things that this got buried until marina o’loughlin’s piece in the guardian.
it is very easy to get endeared to honey and co. i’ve fallen a bit too much in love with it and was almost tempted not to share it. but that would be unfair to sarit packer and itmar srulovich, the husband and wife duo behind it. the small space is simply accessorized with middle eastern clay tiles in blue and white. post-lunch a panoply of cakes takes residence in the window. a wall length shelf is home to jewel coloured jams, large bottles of preserved lemon and a small pantry of grocery elements like pomegranate molasses and spices. the air is warm and smells of slow cooked meat and preserved lemons.
|quinces, lambs lettuce, curd and hazelnuts|
|tabuleh with poached shrimp|
the food here is simple, fresh and with a balance of piquant, sweet and savoury flavours. a whole artichoke is to be eaten by stripping it of its tougher outer layers and working towards the soft centre. a side of coarse salt and a yoghurt dip flecked with dill and a hint of garlic add interest. vine leaves stuffed with leeks and grapes are served on a bed of tart yoghurt. honey and co’s tabuleh is delicious if unusual. it comes of a bed of sharp labneh and is composed of cucumbers, julienned peppers, tomato, roughly chopped herbs and is finished with some cracked wheat that has a strong bite. a scattering of pomegranate seeds lend a fruity tartness. one day there are chunks of buttery avocado in it and on another occasion a fan of poached shrimp on top. a salad of quince, lambs lettuce and curd with the brittle crunch of caramelised hazelnuts is terrific. it’s flavours are a breath of spring in winter.
cold and hot teas with essentially middle eastern flavours like orange blossom and fennel and persian lime compliment the food. we were recommended the cheese cake by the cheery chelsea. it is a savoury-sweet delight that echoes kanafeh - a nest of vermicelli phyllo with a mound of cream cheese finished with honey, toasted almonds and sage. next time i am hoping to work my way to the entrées and tuck into some of the pastries too. honey and co’s fitzroy bun sounds too good to miss!