Berber & Q is in fast rising Haggerston, not that far from Liverpool Street. The restaurant is situated under railway arches and is surrounded by other recently opened bars and restaurants. The area is full of life now – just a few years ago, it would have been an empty desert.
And this is evidenced by a visit on a Friday night. We were warned to come prepared to queue (perhaps the Q) at this popular, no-bookings restaurant. We arrived around 7.30 and were told it would be no less than two hours waiting time!
Luckily we could leave our names and go next door for a drink in the peace and quiet of the Trip Kitchen and Bar.
Back in Berber, and very hungry, we started off with some simply delicious home-made hummus with whole chickpeas, pine nuts and slices of fresh red chilli accompanied with warm pitta bread; the perfect start of a perfect meal.
The restaurant has got a great atmosphere with cosy/ambient lighting and some loud music (but not too loud so you can still have a conversation). The feeling is the same as being in a very vibrant street food restaurant in an exotic country!
Meat is the obvious choice here, and it comes marinated and basted in its own juices before being finished on an open grill to get that perfect BBQ taste! We opted for Hogget kofte (lamb),home made sucuk sausages and hand-pulled lamb shawarma, to share for the whole table. They all arrived laying on more fresh pitta bread on a metal tray filled with salads and pickles built for sharing. Tiny pots of cumin salt are offered for dipping meat into. All the different kinds of meat were very tasty and lived up to our expectation but the sucuk sausages were a big hit with me! We also ordered an excellent grilled Aubergine with almonds and sour cream and some fresh salads. Portion sizes are large, so all of this was more than enough for the four of us. Meat calls for red wine and we all shared a very nice French wine (St Cirice, reasonably priced at £19). We only went for one desert for all of us and chose the quince cobbler with toasted almond custard which was excellent. Most London restaurants pay meticulous attention to the design of their toilets and Berber & Q certainly stick to that rule with the particularity of transporting you to Morocco (well at least, that ‘s where I thought I was), but I shall say no more and let you find out for yourself… Overall, five stars for the food and pricing is reasonable (about £100 for 4 with wine) so as long as you don’t expect getting a seat quickly and you’re not a vegetarian, Berber and Q is a must. Berber and Q Arch 338, Acton Mews, London E8 4EA Nearest station: Haggerston (Overground) Tues-Sun 6pm-11pm BRUNCH: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
(020 7923 0829; berber&q.com)