It’s not the sort of place I frequent often is Haggerston, but it’s starting to become a lot more enticing with the addition of Tonkotsu East and now this, Berber & Q. It’s housed in a railway arch, naturally, and it’s ethos is neatly summed up on the website “mezze from the east, music from the west”.
And there’s plenty of music, loud music, along with lighting so dark they should give you a flashlight when you arrive. But it’s fun. It’s like being at a house party – our waitress was enjoying herself so much she even starting gyrating against the bar.
It’s a tasty sounding menu with plenty of meat which is right up my alley. You order everything to share and it arrives on one big tray. The merguez sausage (£9), which is made in the kitchen, had a lovely smokiness from the grill along with a fiery kick of chilli. Smoked pork belly (£14) was most enjoyable as the meat and fat both had texture – it wasn’t just a soggy mess.
My favourite of the meat was the cumin goat chops (£13) and never having had goat before I found it rather exciting. The meat was a touch tough but the flavour was so very good that it almost didn’t matter. And the fat, my God the fat. Crispy goat fat is my new favourite thing.
Chunks of beetroot with whipped feta (£4.50) were brought alive by strips of candied orange. The whipped feta was so sharp it balanced everything perfectly. Cauliflower shawarma (£7 for half) wasn’t the kebab wrap I was expecting, but instead half a cauliflower so sticky and charred it was a thing of beauty. Blackened aubergine with lemon yoghurt and burnt chilli sauce (£6) was less exciting due to the mushy texture – there was nothing to even it out – but the flavour was exciting with lots going on.
Berber & Q is without doubt an exciting place to go for dinner. Yes, it’s loud and dark and full of boisterous people having fun but that’s all good when the food is that tasty. Service is really relaxed and charming too; the type where they sit at your table with you whilst you order. It’s all fun, fun, fun.