Tonight we’re eating under the arches. Not the Phil Mitchell Eastenders type arches, but the arches in the entrance to Borough Market.
Arabica specialises in food from the Levant area. Now I know you all know which countries make up this region, but as a quick geography lesson we are talking: Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey (Hatay). I love this type of food – feta, lamb, pomegranate, flatbreads, halloumi and tabouleh.
The restaurant is cavernous and loud. ‘Buzzy’ as my mum would say. Intermittently a train rumbles overhead. Dotted around are products to buy for those that want to try the Levant thing at home.
Service is attentive despite it being packed. One waitress offers to explain anything on the menu we don’t understand which was appreciated. Water is continuously topped up without asking. One waiter was very jolly when I tried to walk into the kitchen rather than the toilet.
A bag of spiced popcorn arrived while we chose our food. I like any complimentary food items.
My friend is a veggie and its nice to be out with someone who has so much to choose from for a change. We picked a selection of things to share.
Unfortunately I’ve recently developed an allergy to pine nuts, aubergine and sesame seeds which means I had to avoid quite a bit, but there was still plenty for me to sample.
Between us we had a delicious spinach and feta boregi made with rich buttery filo that looked like a cinnamon swirl, cauliflower cheese with a dukka sourdough topping, potatoes cooked with chilli and coriander, and a pide which is a Turkish style pizza with tuna and halloumi. My friend had a lovely looking jealousy-inducing aubergine dip that arrived with warm flatbreads served in a bag. Everything was fresh and delicious, spicy and herby. Despite the dishes hailing from a range of countries everything complemented each other perfectly.
No desserts but a couple of glasses of Soave finished everything off nicely.
I’m very excited that they offer breakfast and Sunday menus so will definitely will be returning.
A tip from me. If you venture into London and head to Borough Market it gets VERY busy on a Saturday. It is now a massive tourist destination and perhaps has lost some of its magic. My recommendation is to head ten minutes walk away from London Bridge to Maltby Street Market and adjoining Druid St Market. You’ll find a dazzling array of stalls, restaurants and bars under the railway arches with no sign of Phil Mitchell.