Berber & Q | Haggerston Restaurant
Berber and Q do something rather innovative.
They cook Middle Eastern food using American BBQ-ing techniques.
And this is novel for two reasons: 1) you probably haven’t seen it on another menu, let alone tasted it, and 2) because – understatement alert! – historically, America and the Middle East don’t mix very well.
Well, here they mix extremely well. In fact, Berber & Q is one of the best restaurants in East London’s absurdly competitive restaurant scene.
Even from the outside they set the tone with a huge, rusted corrugated sheet filling the pregnant tip of the brick railway arch that the restaurant calls home. Inside, that industrial muscularity is heightened with concrete floors, distressed wood furnishings, and cast iron fittings – all of which is softened with Medina-like patterns on the glass, and a white tile bar.
The place is suffused with that provocatively appetite whetting smell of protein being smoked and scorched on a BBQ, drifting from the open kitchen in the back. Grabbing a seat at one of the long benches (as is also fairly typical of American BBQ places), you’ll see a menu filled with the things you’re smelling: burnt baba ganoush with pomegranate; smoked hot wings with Turkish hot pepper sauce; and a rich bacon cornbread (which really is something else). The main courses include a tender, tea-brined baby chicken; a whole sea bream with a vibrant charmoula spice marinade; and a ribeye large enough for two sided by grilled gem lettuce.
Washing all this down you’ll find some lively and inventive house cocktails, including a gin, turmeric, and ginger number (The Burning Sun), and a smooth bourbon, harissa, and lemon blend (Harissa Explains It Al). They even have a trio of Old Fashioneds – tobacco, date, ras el hanout – aged and served on tap. And they’re exactly as good as they sound…
…so don’t be surprised if, when you turn up, there’s a Q.
NOTE: Berber & Q does not take reservations. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
Liked this place? Then you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear they also have a shawarma bar …