Ahh London, my home town. Smells like it used to, looks like it used to, sounds like it used to but it sure as heck doesn't taste like it used to. Walking around East London was like a foodies dream. All new restaurants, cafes and street markets popping up everywhere and each one jam packed. I was only able to skim the surface of what the London food scene had to offer butI was happy enough as I got to enjoy it with one of my longest standing, bestest friends and fellow food blogger Charlie, (who you might recognize from a previous post) and of course the butter to my bread, my husband.
"IT'S time to meat your MAKER."
Now, when I hear the words slow……cooked……meats I inevitably get fast……pumping……..heartbeats. I get rather excited at the thought of a slowly tenderising, juicy, falling apart piece of meat. As you can imagine this post is not aimed towards the vegetarians of the world. I urge you to look away now…….but feel free to turn back when I start talking about the side dishes of which two were a veggies dream.
Berber and Q is tucked away down a very unassuming street underneath the tracks of the London Overground. Which makes for a pretty cool interior of high, arched brick ceilings with a very underground vibe.
Before diving face first into a platter of meat we thought it best to wet the whistle and order a drink . I was intrigued by a rather unusual sounding concoction and I ordered it out of pure curiosity all the while thinking “there’s no way I’m going to enjoy a Rosemary Lemonade”. Well I’ll be damned! It was bloomin’ marvelous! Very refreshing with minimal fizz and the slightest hint of rosemary, enough to know it’s there but not so much that it tastes like you’re swallowing up someone’s herb garden. Charlie ordered a Pomegranate Spritzer which not only looked pretty (and lets face it, that's important when ordering cocktails) but it turns out they did it again. Another win for the drinks list.
The menu is separated into 3 parts - meat, mezze and sides. They recommend about one meat and one mezze per person so we followed their advise and just that. Berber and Q is all about their slow cooked meats with a modern twist on Middle Eastern flavours.
Between us we shared kofta, pork belly and short rib which all came served on one large, communal tray accompanied by lettuce, tomatoes and a pita style bread. The pork belly was sensational, it was so tender and soft and was by far my favourite of the meats.
I hate to say but I found the short rib a bit tough, although having expressed this to my husband on leaving the restaurant he told me that the meat was much softer closer to the bone. So maybe I’ll let that one slide for now as I trust his foodie opinion. I really enjoyed the kofta but when you’re married into a Lebanese family you are rather spoilt and I must admit I’ve had better
The sides were then brought out as they were ready. First we had the dirty fried mejadrah, a typical Middle Eastern rice dish with fried onions. Only this time with a spin on the classic they added lamb burnt ends. Little, meaty chunks of deliciousness. It was seriously yummy and my pick of the bunch.
Coming in at close second was the roasted pumpkin with labne and hazelnuts. I am a big fan of pumpkin and I believe it can do no wrong and this one did me proud. Finally, the half roasted cauliflower with tahini dressing. I found the dressing a bit overpowering but my dinner companions both thought it was delicious
I was really impressed with their innovative flavours and I loved the concept, however, with slow cooked meats making a speedy entry onto the menus of many restaurants I have to say I’ve had my fair share. Unfortunately the meat I had at Berber and Q was not my favourite (apart from that pork belly which was just yuuuuum) although with a regularly changing menu I would be more than willing to return for some more heart pumping, slow cooking action.
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