The team at Shawarma Bar are champions of smoked and rotisserie-style cooking. Chefs have created a smorgasbord of boldly flavoured meat and vegetable dishes, inspired by the street food and café culture of Tel Aviv.
But before you get to the big guns, start things off with a handful of mezze starters. Make sure not to leave out the lamb kofte, covered in a rich tomato sauce, or the ‘chilli, chilli, chilli’ dish, which is just a whole heap of different spicy chilli sauces.
The roasted beetroot with whipped feta and hazelnuts is also a great earthy option that will help cut through some of the stronger flavoured dishes, giving your pallet a little break.
They then have a mighty list of different kinds of hummus (this part of the menu must be made for millennials); they’re all great but go straight for the Iraqi. It arrives with fried aubergines, a boiled egg, an incredibly creamy tahini dip, pickles, herbs, and a handful of colourful spice mixes.
Do your utmost to get this dish placed on your end of the table because diners will be fighting over it, mopping up all the best bits with freshly toasted pita bread.
Then come the big boys; the meaty mains from the grill and rotisserie.
The platter of lamb shawarma accompanied with all kinds of sauces, pickles, chilies and, of course, pita bread is a huge win. It’s a plate full of many different competing flavours, but they somehow make it work. The lamb is succulent and smoky, while different sauces and spices add even more complexity and pickles and herbs freshen things up.
Mash it all together on the pita bread or eat each part separately. Even grab some of the leftover sauces from the mezze dishes to add your own twist.
That’s the brilliance of this menu. Each dish works so well on its own, but once you add the other sides and starters together, it just gets even more rich and fun. It’s all about sharing so dive in and don’t be fearful of making a mess.
If there is one item on the entire menu you must order, it would have to be the cauliflower shawarma. This famous, smoky, slightly charred cauliflower is smothered in tahini, pomegranates and rose petals. Order it on the side of all your other mains. Rip it apart, one floret at a time, and enjoy.
Desserts are also a little different here, especially the tahini tart which left us a little confused. It’s somewhat like a salted caramel tart but more savoury. We didn’t know why we liked it, but the critical take away is that we did.
And you can’t talk about Berber & Q without mentioning the cocktails. Head bartender, Malcolm Lunan, has carefully put together a list of Middle East-inspired cocktails to match the food.
Grab one of the specially-made Old Fashioneds or our very favourite sweet drink, the Spy From Cairo, made with a homemade pistachio syrup, Ron Barcelo rum, lime, orange and egg whites, making for a super smooth and tasty drink that’s perfect with dessert.
Everything at Shawarma Bar is unapologetically bold – the strongly flavoured food, the unique booze options and the upbeat vibe within the whole restaurant.
They don’t hold back. And neither should you when visiting. Order as much as you think you can handle and try not to feel the FOMO when a sexy dish you didn’t order lands on the table next you.