Forget Batman and Robin, Lennon and McCartney, and Ant and Dec (sorry), because we are pleased to say there’s a new dream in town. In the second week of Berber & Q’s Mangal Mondays collaboration, Salon’s Nicholas Balfie teamed up with the Haggerston-based boys to serve four mezze dishes:
Perfectly spicy ‘Nduja croquettes with pickled cucumbers (a Salon trademark), rainbow chard tempura and smoked cod’s roe, fresh goat’s cheese heaped with squeaky fresh peas, broad beans and preserved lemon, and delicate lamb tartare, tahini, pickled fennel and radish.
What makes this north-south restaurant mash-up (Salon is in Brixton and although we still haven’t made it for dinner, the brunches have us dragging our sorry selves out of bed and towards the market most weekends) so fantastic is that these are two of London’s tastiest establishments in their own right – and the blend of Middle East and European flavours and influences that we feasted on a couple of days ago was clearly the result of a brief but passionate affair – a beautiful love child in the form of a bargain set menu, if you will.
For mains, the Berber tray comes out, bearing the excellent grilled meat and charred veggies we have come to expect – BBQ pork neck with rhubarb ketchup and extra spice rub for sprinkling, tender octopus, ranch dressing and pickled kohlrabi, grilled hispi cabbage with smoked almonds – with fresh modern Mediterranean-influenced sides, like bread salad, heritage tomatoes and pickled peppers (more panzanella than fatoush), and green beans with smoked labneh.
It is food that’s perfect for grazing – for enjoying alongside lingering conversations and slow drinks – but it’s just too darn delicious. Heads down and hoover it up is more the story at our spot on the shared table.
Something light and heavenly to finish it all off comes in the form of elderflower baklava – buttery filo pastry and just the right level of sweet cream and fragrant rosewater.
The verdict: you guys should hook up more often. Looking forward to visiting again in a few weeks to see what the Nopi crew produce.
Buy tickets for the final 2 performances: http://berberandq.com/mangal-mondays