Located under the Victorian Railway Arches in Borough Market lies Arabica; a restaurant perfecting the Middle Eastern cuisine one dish at a time.
Arabica is undoubtedly adding a little something with its Levant cuisine, and upon dining there it’s apparent why.
We are warmly greeted by the manager who showed us to our booth and we’re instantly impressed with the décor; the lighting is a standout for us with the intricate detailing on each piece, the bright blue leather alongside the exposed brick walls and the cool yet comfy vibe Arabica gives is welcomed.
Whilst perusing the menu, we notice it is separated into sections; Nibbles, Dips, Raw/Cured, Fried, Clay Oven, Stove/Grill, Charcoal, Salads and Vegetable Pulses.
We’re advised to choose between 2-3 dishes each, and with that in mind, we order from each part.
On the recommendation of the manager, we opt for; hummus, Muhummara, Crispy Semolina Crumbed Sea Food, Mushroom and Truffle Man’Ousheh, Beef Shish, Tabouleh and Batata Harra alongside a Lebanese lemonade and a Grapefruit and Pomegranate Soda.
It’s good to note that the kitchen at Arabica work very quickly so it may be worth ordering a few dishes, to begin with, and then ordering more as and when you want to move on because 6 plates of food can be a little overwhelming in one go, the wait for the food really isn’t long.
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 muhammara was the standout for me, it was heaven from the 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.
We continued to dip back into this throughout the meal.
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 impressed at how they’ve managed to retain the full flavour of the seafood, especially the whitebait; the batter was light and added a nice subtle crunch. It was just right.
As both of us are self-confessed cheese fiends, 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.
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, and just a nice on its own – it was that good!
The batata harra was delicious; the parsley and garlic style dip spread on top made them incredibly moreish, and they basically had to be pried out of our hands!
Having seen other diners enjoy dessert around us; we couldn’t resist. We had to tuck in!
My friend opted for the Knafeh; a warm Levantine cheese pastry with orange blossom honey and crushed pistachios. I opted for the ABK Sundae; Dark chocolate ice cream, orange blossom cream, pistachio Turkish delight, sesame brittle, walnut.
We were both impressed; the chocolate paired with orange blossom cream was a winner for me and I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. It’s the kind of place where I wouldn’t recommend sharing your dessert!
Arabica was a culinary experience; they’ve perfected laid back dining with super tasty food. I cannot wait to head back and try the remainder of the menu!
A: Borough Market, 3 Rochester Walk, London SE1 9AF
T: 020 3011 5151