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Bull in a China Shop
196 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6LG
020 7539 9299 Price £35
Intriguingly set behind an atmospherically Dickensian frontage, this
new Asian-accented bar-restaurant is intimate and fun. Opened by
Shoreditch stalwarts Stephen and Simon Chan, its diminutive interior
is furnished with parquet ooring, teal banquettes and quirky decor.
The kitchen produces healthy versions of dude food. But while
much has been blogged about the charcoal bun chicken burgers
with pickled ginger, we reckon the real star is the sticky, succulent
rotisserie chicken - brined with ginger and marinated in yoghurt
with a Nikka whisky glaze, it's soft and spicy, tangy and moreish.
Salads are a highlight, too; we love the crunchy charred cauliower
salad, with fennel, apple and blood orange. To nish, try the twist on
a bread and butter pud, made with apricot-glazed cinnamon swirls.
Part of Bull in a China Shop's considerable appeal lies in the fact
that it is a exible, all-day, seven-day-a-week outt. Breakfast and
lunch are available daily, and the evening menu changes throughout
the week: à la carte on Monday to Wednesday; three set menus
(meat, sh, veg) on Thursday to Saturday, with whisky pairings (from
£45 a head depending on the whisky chosen). Sundays, meanwhile,
are all about the roasts, cooked on the rotisserie.
Right on-trend, the bar specialises in Japanese whisky: top billing
goes to the list of Karuizawa whiskies, rare, revered drops from a
closed distillery. Scotch whisky also has a starring role in fabulous
cocktails such as the heady Apricot Highball.
Our tip for getting the most out of this all-day enterprise? Ask
for the table by the kitchen - the best seat in the joint.
THE LAST WORD A quirky little all-day spot with a forte in Asian-in�uenced roasts and
salads, plus rare Japanese whiskies and fab cocktails
Berber & Q
Arch 338, Acton Mews, E8 4EA
020 7923 0829 Price £48
Barbecue gets the North African treatment
at this rst solo venture from chef-to-watch
Josh Katz, who cut his teeth at Galvin Bistrot
de Luxe and Ottolenghi. Katz however is very
much ploughing his own furrow here: Berber
Q is housed in a brick-lined Haggerston
railway arch that has the feel of a Berlin
nightclub crossed with a Moroccan-tinged
Hoxton hangout. Music plays loudly, hip
young sta buzz around the space and the
chefs are on full view in an open kitchen.
The focus is on communal sharing: two
long tables dominate the centre of the room;
meats from the charcoal-red mangal are
served on mess trays in the middle of the
tables; beer is available in growlers (halfgallon
glass bottles, which keep it fresh)
and wine in magnum form.
The menu is split into bar snacks, meats,
vegetable-based meze, pickles and sweets:
a combination of nger-lickin' goodness and
things so vibrantly tasty you'll want to ght
over them with your fork. Harissa hot wings
arrive plump and juicy, while the smoked
short-rib is served black, glistening and falling
o the bone, with a date syrup glaze lending
a delicious molasses sweetness. Spicy-sweet
harissa sauce and garlic mayonnaise are on
hand for dipping and smearing.
It's a mark of how good the cooking is
that the standout ingredient is the humble
cauliower, served as a shawarma oered in
various sizes; our half-head came blackened
on the outside from the grill and topped with
tahini, pine nuts and a dusting of rose petals.
The cocktail list deserves special mention,
with well-priced concoctions incorporating
Middle Eastern avours: try the intriguing
Haggerstoned, a mix of Tequila, green
Chartreuse, pistachio syrup and orange
bitters that is a herbal thirst-quencher.
Fun and funky, smoking hot Berber Q
oers a taste of east London without the
usual o-putting attitude: Katz has the
condence to let his food speak for itself.
THE LAST WORD Communal barbecue, North African
style, is meat and drink to this funky hangout, with grills, meze
and cocktails fuelling the east London fun