There’s a boisterous beauty to Israeli food.
Spanning a compellingly-chaotic compilation of cultures and sub-cultures, this is a cuisine which has been shaped across generations of widespread immigrant communities, each adding their own twist and traditions…
From breakfast through to dinner (and all sorts of babka-related snacks in between!), here are top picks of some of the best, conjointly curated with my favourite foodie, Felicity Spector. Over to her, first…
The Good Egg – going from strength to strength with a second branch in Soho’s Kingly Court funded by an incredible crowdfunding effort. Obviously their babka is a major draw, with chocolate, date and pecan and daily specials – but don’t miss the breakfast sabich, an iconic Israeli sandwich, with aubergine, egg, tahini, salad and spicy pickles stuffed inside a freshly baked pita. At dinner there are some unmissable mezze dishes – from smashed beetroot and roasted cauliflower to the aubergine shawarma and amazing baked cheesecake for dessert.
Bold, bright & beautiful… Sabich @TheGoodEgg_’s new spot in Kingly Court @CarnabyLondon. Piled high with marinated aubergine & all sorts of clever seasonings, these fluffy pitta pockets are just the antidote needed for a grizzly day like this one. Full review on the blog if you missed it (link in bio!). #Sabich #TheGoodEgg #CarnabyLondon #FoodieLife #TheFoodieDiariesLondon
Strut and Cluck are opening a second branch too, Delamina in Marylebone. Go for the vibrant veggie dishes and the daily pita ‘balagan’ which comes with daily changing toppings – best of all is the brunch version, with sweet tahini and nuts and roasted fruit. Also, save room if you can for the molten chocolate tahini dessert.
My favourite local has to be Shawarma Bar, the Exmouth Market offshoot of Josh Katz’s Berber and Q. The hummus plates are incredible – try the one with beetroot tahini and roasted broccoli – or the ‘Iraqi’ style version with roasted aubergine and egg. Get all the mezze and don’t miss the roasted cauliflower which is so good, because it has been continually brushed with spiced butter as it cooks.
Glorious zaatar broccoli hummus with beetroot tahini and yet more beetroot in salatim – plus roast cauli and squash freekeh @shawarmabarldn with the lovely @ascripps and @sarahatickle … we also polished off some amazing grilled Hispi and my favourite cauliflower Shawarma along with the special @honeyandco pita of the week. And much bread. Plus ALL THE tahini. So fabulous!! 🌿🥙💕🌟👌🏻😊
For the best pitas you’ll find this side of Tel Aviv – head to Bala Baya where Eran Tibi has brought a special Israeli oven to London and painstakingly tracked down the perfect flour… go for lunch and the stuffed pita of dreams. Also, the ‘burnt babka’ dessert. Outstanding.
– Felicity Spector (follow more of her adventures on Instagram, here).
As for this foodie, I’ve always been partial to the beguiling charms of The Palomar in Chinatown.
The high-octane cooking here thrives in the food of modern-day Jerusalem, drawing from Chef Tomer Amedi’s Kurdish-Moroccan heritage married with influences as far afield as Yemen, the Levant, the Maghreb, Turkey and Eastern Europe. The result manifests in a new world of herbs, spices and vivaciously-vibrant assemblies. The carb-heavy comforts of the Kubaneh proves especially enticing. Served with lashings of tahini and lust-worthy dips to sop up, this warm and fluffy pot-baked bread is really one of life’s simple but high-level pleasures.
When you're guilty of playing favourites… Another phenomenal visit @PalomarSoho (second time this month!) with kubaneh (Yemeni pot-baked bread) to kick things off on a warm and fluffy note! And as @SamyuktaNair so astutely pointed out: tahini is life 🙌🏻 Hope to see you next time @chefnavon @tomeramedi 🙋🏻 #TopLondonRestaurants #LunchGoals #PalomarSoho #TheFoodieDiariesLondon
And then there’s Honey & Co, co-founded by the Israeli husband and wife team, Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. The diminutive café is always packed to its seams with regulars flocking back for the familiar comfort of their favourite dishes imbued with a daring depth of Middle Eastern flavours. The Shakshuka here sets a steadying start to the day; whilst for mezze and grills, I’d also recommend the sister spin-off Honey & Smoke, situated just a few streets away!