Whet your appetite with Cornish oysters and cumin salted quail eggs, before plunging into a triumvirate of fabulous dips: tirshi (Tunisian pumpkin salad, topped on a luscious tahini and topped with a fiery hit of harissa ); matbucha (a sweet and spicy Moroccan dish of candied tomatoes and peppers); and machluta (a mezze of fresh and creamy zucchini). Afghan khobz – a soft, chewy bread sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and flaky salt – is a non-negotiable commodity. The perfect vehicle to eagerly mop up until the last bit, it would be wise to keep them coming throughout.
Other menu highlights include the poetically-named Sunset Crudo, which with its bright colors and artful presentation is already causing a stir on Instagram. But it is not a question of style rather than of substance; the delicate sea bream has a melting sweetness, enlivened by a citrus carrot sauce, fragrant coriander oil, a dispersion of fresh peppers and crunchy grilled quinoa. Butter Bean Stew is the ultimate winter comfort food, heady with the warmth of smoked paprika and cinnamon, while lubina chermoula features tender pieces of crispy-skinned sea bass, accompanied by a delicious garlic relish that begs to be cleaned with (even more) khobz.
Since there are only two choices once the pudding rolls, it only makes sense (and is strongly recommended) to order both. The sfenj, a Moroccan donut, is a pure nostalgic delight. It’s served piping hot, rolled in sugar, in a kitschy paper bag, with an orange-flavored tahini chocolate ganache for dipping, which has murmurs of a very sophisticated Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The hashpot, meanwhile, is a nod to The Barbary’s hashcake, a pistachio and honey pie. A lighter, deconstructed reinterpretation of its neighbors’ signature dessert, the delicate glass jar contains a creamy vanilla-scented cream, somewhere between whipped mousse and luxurious silky cream, with a generous buttered pistachio crumble. The sfenj and the hashpot are precisely what puddings should be; fun, playful and (above all) sweet.
Emerging into the picturesque surroundings of Neal’s Yard on a cold winter’s night, you’ll be warmed by a full stomach, good humor – and the somewhat blissful satisfaction of knowing you’ve just dined at one of the world’s most coveted restaurants. from the capital. new openings. But good luck getting a table.
For more information visit thebarbarynextdoor.co.uk.
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