Annie and I loved our visit to Honey & Smoke a few weeks ago, so she suggested we try out their ‘mother’ restaurant, Honey & Co., and kindly offered to book us a table. It’s a tiny, unassuming place which you’d easily pass by unless you were looking for it, located down the far end of Warren Street away from the Tube station, just north of Fitzroy Square. This Israeli-run café, serving Middle Eastern food, has been such a success and so highly acclaimed you couldn’t really call it a café. And like Honey & Smoke, it’s necessary to book well in advance.
It still feels like a café inside, just a few tables lined either side and quite close together; kilim-style cushions along the back a reference to its owners’ Middle East origins. At Honey & Smoke, Annie and I had the fixed price menu with its starter of a large mezze selection but you have to be really hungry to want that. Also it was a particularly warm day yesterday, which made us feel we wanted something more modest. We therefore decided to order two starters but share them, and follow it with a main course.
Our first choice of starter was Broad Bean Hummus with Fresh Broad Beans, Marinated Asparagus and Soft Boiled Egg.
It was really wonderful: gorgeous smooth broad bean hummus, a perfectly soft-boiled egg, asparagus retaining the right amount of bite; delicate little broad beans that had (quite rightly) been podded of their tough skins and shining bright green on top. We could have done with a little more pitta bread with it – you could order more as an extra but it would have been nice to have been served a little more and on the side rather than put on top, but other than that it was a brilliant starter. I said to Annie that (with more bread!) it would make a great light meal.
Our other choice of starter was Yemeni Style Falafel with Coriander & Cardamon, served with Tahini Sauce & Cucumber & Sumac Salad.
These were fabulous falafels, quite large, lovely texture and great taste. I liked the tahini with them and the fresh-tasting cucumber salad.
We both chose the same main course: Chicken Shish with Sweet Garlic and Parsley, Freekeh, Pea & Herb Salad & Feta Dressing.
Like the starters, this was superb. The chicken was wonderfully tender and very tasty. I loved the freshness of the freekeh salad with it. It was perfect for the warm day. Freekeh is such a tasty grain, it’s become a favourite of mine, but with the sweet peas and lots of fresh mint it worked brilliantly with the grilled chicken.
Portions were very generous and neither of us had room for dessert. I’d had a glass of white wine, Annie some mint tea, and the bill with service came to £63 for the two of us. We agreed on our way out and back to the Tube station that we’d thought the food excellent but preferred the atmosphere at Honey & Smoke in the evening; it’s larger and we also thought the service a touch more efficient a friendly at ‘Smoke’. But I’m splitting hairs a bit here: the food at Honey & Co is brilliant and definitely worth a trip to the top end of Fitzrovia to try it.