If you’ve ever been to Honey & Co. (and if you haven’t – book a table now) you can probably understand why I was so ridiculously excited to see that they were opening a new restaurant just around the corner. Honey & Smoke opened it’s doors to us hummus-loving Brits last year but, testament to its success, just like Honey & Co. it’s almost impossible to get a table. Take that, throw in my general disorganisation and way too many holidays and it’s not surprising that I’ve only just made it there. But wow. It was definitely worth the wait.
I fell in love with Honey & Co. about three years ago. Everything in there tastes out of this world. For a start, it’s one of those rare Middle Eastern restaurants where the chefs are actually from the Middle East. Whatever you’re looking for, the power couple behind the “Honey & …” brand, Sarit and Itamar, have waved their magic wands over it and made it heavenly. Brunch? Best baked eggs in the city. Lunch? Enriched bread (think brioche, but more eggy) stuffed with merguez sausage and sun-dried tomatoes from their pantry store across the road – Honey & Spice. Dinner? Large and small plates of delicious concoctions that make Ottolenghi look like an amateur. Take your veggie friends, they’ll love you for it. And don’t even get me started on the cakes and desserts. My office used to be just around the corner and I swear I ate so much of it that I actually started to resemble their chocolate, hazelnut and cinnamon babka. Needless to say, I (and my entire office) had high hopes for Sarit and Itamar’s new grill restaurant, Honey & Smoke.
Now I have to say, the first thing that struck me when we arrived was the slightly odd decor. Bright yellow plastic tables with contrasting red plastic chairs, a royal blue wall on the left and then a sort of Moroccan vibe on the other side. Honey & Co. is so cosy and sweet, it definitely oozes style and so the interiors here did come as a bit of a surprise.
But to be honest, when the food arrived, I could have been in the middle of a hurricane and I wouldn’t have glanced up from the table. In fact it was so delicious and we were having such a great time catching up with a couple of friends we hadn’t seen since our wedding, I actually forgot that I was blogging about our meal and I failed to take enough photos.
When we got to our table there were some nibbles to get us started. Crostini, dipped in a lightly spiced cream cheese, topped with radishes.
We started to look at the menu and the mezze all sounded so delicious that we didn’t even make it to the grill section. Saved that for the next visit. Instead we went for the “one of everything” approach on the mezze.
We ordered a couple of bottles of the house red, a delicious Pinot Noir from the Loire Valley…
And watched beautiful plate after beautiful plate emerge from the open kitchen…
One by one our pretty dishes arrived.
Moroccan sourdough and Greek olive oil, juicy Kalamata olives and pickles…
One between four was definitely not enough for this bread fiend!
The creamiest baba ganoush with that amazing charred flavour, served with seeded lavoush, sprinkled with pomegranate and drizzled with more of that incredible olive oil…
Burnt celeriac, urfa chilli butter, sour cream and chives. Completely different and unbelievably satisfying.
A refreshing and zingy winter tomato and citrus salad, dressed with chilli and coriander.
My favourite of the night: roasted cauliflower florets with a generous dollop of amba (a sort of mango chutney) and tahini.
How can cauliflower taste that good?!
Falafel and tahini…
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Perfection.
Msabaha. Chickpeas cooked over night in the tastiest Turkish pepper and garlic sauce…
Some pretty amazing charred sweet potatoes, tossed with almond tahini, date honey and spring onions.
Warm goats cheese, red onion, walnut and pomegranate. A beautiful and sticky dish that any one of us would have happily licked clean.
And finally, a side of crispy potatoes.
Even though we were stuffed to the hilt, there was no way we were missing out on puddings. And of course we went for four.
Number one – chocolate pecan mud pie, with chocolate and orange ice cream.
Number two – feta and honey cheese cake on a kadaif base.
Number three – Turkish coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce, marshmallow and toasted hazelnut crumb.
Number four – warm chestnut cake, served with sour cream…
And a bucket of salted caramel sauce…
The winner, hands down.
Honey & Smoke, what a triumph. Completely and utterly amazing. Better get booking the next table if we want to try the summer menu.