Arabica, Borough Market


Arabica in Borough Market was a venture I took with work (read my full review on Access London blog here) and understandably it's been one of my standout meals this year.

Borough Market is no longer the Bridget Jones-esque place in the City you'd rather not venture to, it's the place that as a foodie you simply cannot resist venturing to. You've got tapas, independent stalls or Wright Brothers to name a few food options and as for the drinking scene - you probably won't be leaving sober.

Arabica has been based here for a while; the only issue with it is that I didn't find out sooner. Middle Eastern cuisine is one I've come to love; the flavours are more often than not exactly what I'm craving and the tapas style dining means you're able to sample several things rather than just one.

If British do one thing wrong (other than the big mistake 52% of you made when you voted out) it's sticking to the one dish dining. I love going to Middle Easter, Spanish, Greek (the list goes on) on the basis that my meal will not be limited to one meal, rather I'll be able to sample several. This is exactly what to expect when dining at Arabica.

Between two people, it's recommended you choose around 2-3 dishes each from their several options; nibbles, dips, raw/cured, fried, clay oven, stove/grill, charcoal, salads and vegetable pulses...a menu which truly caters for everyone.

It's hard to choose just three when at least 10 items look incredible, and in these situations I find it's always best to simply opt for the managers recommendations. We opted for the hummis, Muhummara, Crispy Semolina Seafood, Mushroom and truggle Man'Ousheh, Beef Shish, Tabouleh and Batata Harra. A selection of flavours we couldn't wait to tuck into.

As it was a Monday, neither of us were drinking and opted for Lebanese lemonade and Grapefruit and Pomegranate Soda. Though with a cocktail menu like Arabica's, it'd be the perfect place to perch up with friends whilst enjoying various snacks and drinks. With Christmas quickly approaching, this light approach to food and drinks will undoubtedly be a welcomed break from roast potatoes and turkey, dare I say it.

We started with the hummus and Muhummara; the Muhummara is spiced roasted pepper with toasted mixed nuts. Served with warm flatbread, in a perfectly branded paper bag.

The muhummara was the standout for me, it was heaven from first bite. The taste of peppers is strong but not overpowering, but the added spices take it from an average dip to an incredible one. It was essentially like cat-nip to a cat, for lack of a better term. Funnily enough, it was the choice I was most hesitant about however turned out to be my favourite. 

Similar to a tapas style; the food comes when it’s ready. After gorging on the dips, we were presented with the Crispy Semolina seafood alongside the Man’Ousheh and Tabouleh, later followed by the beef shish and batata harra.

Tucking into the semolina seafood first, I was immediately impressed with the retained flavour of the fish. I sometimes find when it's been coated in a batter that is lacks in flavour as a result, however this was not the case with the semolina. The whitebait, which I'd never tried prior, was insane...I've craved it several times since! 

As a self-confessed cheese fiend, the mascarpone, mushroom, halloumi, rocket and truffle oil Turkish pizza went down well. It was the perfect example of something simple being done very well, and it's a slightly lighter alternative to an authentic pizza...though of course, I still love pizza.

The beef shish was well complimented by the tabbouleh; the richness of the perfectly cooked red meat was subsidised by the freshness of the salad. The tabbouleh went with everything - I've been trying to recreate this on my own at home since but, alas, it's not happened. A great reason to return! 

The batata harra was tasty; the kind of food which is simultaneously flavoursome but homely.

 Call me crazy, but I have a "must always order dessert" rule. I opted for the ABK Sundae; Dark chocolate ice cream, orange blossom cream, pistachio Turkish delight, sesame brittle, walnut. Despite being full, I managed to eat the entire thing and still crave more. 

Arabica, for me, is a must-visit. It's the kind of laid back dining with exceptional food, whilst maintaining great prices and a pleasant atmosphere. 


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