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Blog, Date Spot, Eat, London

Bala Baya, Southwark

April 28, 2017
Bala Baya, Southwark

Well, Israeli food is having a bit of a moment in London.  Ottolenghi probably put it on the food map in London, but restaurants like Palomar, the Barbary and Honey & Co have also really helped, and are some of my favourite restaurants in the city.

And now Bala Baya opens it doors (OK, well three months ago), under the arches in Southwark.  It’s main focus is food from Tel Aviv, so traditional Israeli food but with a modern twist.  I took Rob there for his birthday in March, and then returned for a press night of the Israeli Tourist Board last week.  Both times the food blew me away.   From more traditional dishes like the home made, just baked pitta bread and amazing roasted cauliflower with yoghurt to the fish tartar with sumac, it was all completely delicious.  Apparently the aubergine with milk is well worth trying too, so don’t be put off by the name.

Bala Baya, Southwark

On the press night our favourite dish was the salmon with peppers, as were their seared tuna bites.  But their puddings were incredible too: they served a cheesecake and a panna cotta-esque pudding with Malibu.  Perhaps because Tel Aviv is on the coast they serve more fish here than they might at a more mainstream Israeli restaurant.

Bala Baya, Southwark

Ask for a table upstairs, unless you want to sit by the bar downstairs (which is perhaps a bit more upbeat).  The setting itself is very cool, reminding me a little of Bethnal Green’s Mission E2.  A mixture of its exposed red brick arch, with modern furniture and greenery, means it’s en trend.

Bala Baya, SouthwarkBala Baya, Southwark

And while it’s location is a little off the beaten path, the Old Union Yard Arches are cool, with wine bar and Italian restaurant Macellaio next door worth a visit too.  Or, if you fancy something different, Polish/Russian/Hungarian restaurant and bar Baltic is around the corner, with stunning minimalist interiors and good food & drinks.

Bala Baya

Arch 25, Old Union Yard Arches

220 Union Street


Photo credit: Bala Baya (apart from the salmon, which is one of my instagram photos)

Blog, Eat, London

Camino Bankside, Southwark

September 10, 2015
Camino, Bankside

London seems to be building up a very nice collection of excellent tapas bars.  Up in my favourite Clerkenwell you’ve got Morito and Iberica, Central London is dominated by Barrafina and Brindisa, and finally Camino is very well represented in the City and Southbank.  The newest addition to the Camino chain is Camino Bankside, minutes’ walk from Southwark station, behind the Tate Modern.  Not a bad location, and an area I am not very familiar with (but certainly liked what I saw).

Camino, Bankside

And this is where – very fortunately – I was invited to the most recent #zomatomeetup, the perfect opportunity to try out Camino and what they had on offer, as well as a chance to meet some other bloggers.

It’s located on Canvey Street, a new-ish Bankside development with lots of attractive restaurants and cafes and big outside terraces [not applicable to my experience since it was pissing it down – again].  Camino is first and foremost a tapas bar, and the bar does take up a substantial part of the large and airy space.  But its also a very cosy restaurant, and I love the Andalusian design influences (mainly all the colourful tiles on the walls).

Camino, BanksideCamino, Bankside

We were treated to a carving masterclass with Chef Nacho del Campo (£30 to the public, should you be interested – it’s a great thing to do with a group of friends), and we told all about the Iberico hams.  I loved the chef’s passion and enthusiasm (which was infectious), and his Spanish charm.  We learnt not only how to carve (so hard), but also how the taste of the ham can vary depending on the ageing process, which part of the leg its from and which area in Spain the pig is from (including if the landscape is hilly or flat).  The ‘Rolls Royce’ of jamon is less fatty and you can almost taste the acorns the pig has guzzled up.
Carmino, SouthwarkCarmino, Southwark

Apart from plates of delicious ham we were also served their fabulous padron peppers (and I learnt they can be spicy), wonderful cheeses, heaps of tomato bread and tortillas.  That, along with a couple of glasses of Cava and some fun conversations with a number of inspiring bloggers, and it made for a very excellent evening indeed.  Thanks for having me, and I’ll be back!
Camino, Bankside

Camino Southwark 

5 Canvey Street

London SE1 9NA

Camino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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