What: Bubala is an all-veggie restaurant that has operated in pop up form for the past year, hosting supper clubs at sites across the capital including Berber & Q in Haggerston, Carousel in Marylebone and at Dalston bar Untitled.
Who: It’s the brainchild of former Berber & Q general manager Marc Summers, who will oversee the restaurant’s front of house operation; while head chef Helen Graham, who previously cooked at The Palomar and The Barbary, will take charge of the kitchen. Summers has previously said he thinks there’s a big appetite for Middle Eastern food in London, with the flavour combinations and gentle spicing techniques a perfect way to showcase vegetables and vegetarian cooking.
The food: The menu features a selection of small plate dishes that are designed for sharing, with prices predominately ranging between £5 and £10. The flavours centre on the herbs and spices of the Middle East, with options including labneh served with confit garlic and za’atar; shitake and oyster mushroom skewers with soy, coriander seed and maple; and ful medames (fava bean stew) served with lovage pesto, yoghurt and homemade flatbread. In a bid to appeal to as broad a church as possible, a number of dishes featured – including the skewers – are already vegan, while others – such as the hummus with burnt butter and pine nuts; and the pomegranate braised cabbage with tahini and hazelnut – can be made vegan to order.
The vibe: The restaurant is inspired by Tel Aviv’s modern cafes, with the 30-cover dining room featuring a natural and rustic interior design and plenty of plant hangings. There’s also a bar area made from recycled plastic.
And another thing: The restaurant’s location holds a great, personal significance to Summers as it is set metres away from where his grandfather grew up; the name Bubala coming from a Yiddish term of endearment that is said to often be used by grandparents and roughly translates as ‘sweetheart’.
65 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6BD