Arabica Bar and Kitchen is a restaurant which specialises in food from the Middle East (if you’re into that sort of thing you must try The Palomar by the way) and it’s based right in the heart of Borough Market.
The dining room sits under a huge railway arch making the space a rather charming one. The atmosphere matched that of the market; bustling and lively which was helped by the open kitchen and bar with stool seats, and not to forget, the loud music.
The menu was vast meaning there was plenty to choose from. We started with the Armenian style lahmacun (£6), which was a flatbread topped with spiced lamb, and the three cheese man’ousheh (£6) which was basically a cheesy garlic bread. Plenty of flavour was found in both.
The tarama, or whipped cod’s roe (£5.50), was unlike any taramasalata I’ve had before; here it was white and had the texture of polenta – I can’t stand polenta! The flavour however was absolutely delicious and it made for a great dip for the flatbread which was served in an Arabica paper bag.
The semolina crumbed Cornish squid (£9) was a particular highlight with its succulent flesh and peppery coating. The beef and bone marrow kofte (£9.50) was also up there; the little balls of beef were served rare and had serious amounts of meaty flavour. The charred tomato and pepper provided the perfect sweet accompaniment for the richness of all that fatty bone marrow.
The Label Anglais chicken wings (£7) were cooked perfectly; they had a crispy skin and moist flesh; I could have easily eaten another portion. There could have been a little more meat with the onglet and smoked barbecue salad (£9.50); for the price I thought the slices could have been a little thicker. Great taste though.
The batata harra (£5) which were triple cooked potatoes, were an explosion of flavour, and so would you be if you’d been dunked in the fryer thrice and then mixed with sautéed peppers, onion, toasted garlic, chilli and coriander. Corr they were good.
We loved our lunch at Arabica; each dish exuded big, bold flavours meaning everything was most enjoyable. It could all add up quite quickly though if you’re pigs like us and order loads of plates (and the glass of pomegranate juice at £6.50), but it’s definitely worth a visit.