Updated 10/3/15 with opening date
We can tell you right now that there's going to be a lot of buzz around Berber & Q when it opens in Haggerston in Spring. Billed as a Middle Eastern and North African grill house, it's a joint venture between chef Josh Katz (Galvin Bistrot de Luxe and Ottolenghi) and Mattia Bianchi (Ottolenghi and Ben Spalding).
It'll be taking over a space under the railway arches on Acton Mews, further down the same road as Trip Kitchen. Josh has taken inspiration from Turkey's Mangal restaurants, the grill & kebab houses of Istanbul, the food stalls of Jmaa al Fna in Marrakesh and the Shipudim in Tel Aviv. The former taxi rank will feature a long bar down one side and tables made from, appropriately enough, railway sleepers.
So there'll be an open mangal, charcoal grill and smoker turning out dishes like Lamb Mechoui (£9.50), pulled forequarter of lamb eaten by hand with cumin salt for dipping; Quail, with rose and plum yoghurt (£8.50); and Beef Kefta with walnut and apricot (£8.50).
It's not all meat though - vegetable dishes will include blackened aubergine with walnut and tahini (£5); cauliflower with turmeric and lime butter and glazed beetroot with date syrup and whipped feta (£5).
For dessert, how about ice cream pitta with banana and salted caramel?
Wine wise, Mattia has put together a short list of no more than 15 wines from small producers in Southern Italy, Spain, and France, along with lesser- known bottles from Morocco and Turkey starting at £3.50 for a glass, and £18.50 for a bottle. There'll also be Middle Eastern cocktails using Lebanese Arak while guest lagers will be served on tap in growlers from local breweries such as London Fields, Crate and the Redchurch Brewery. They'll be serving their own Golden beer made in conjunction with Crate Brewery, with Thyme, Za'atra, Sumac and orange zest, served in growlers.
"I want Berber & Q to be fun and informal," says Katz". There'll be a few dishes that you'll eat with your hands. The vibe is all about sharing good food, in a close setting with great friends."