Restaurant Review: Arabica

Borough Market plays host to a restaurant serving Middle Eastern cuisine with a modern edge

London Bridge’s Borough Market is typically a date destination reserved for food-loving Londoners who want to try some samples at the weekend market. Come nighttime, however, the market’s restaurant scene springs into life, providing the perfect backdrop for a meze-fuelled date at Arabica, the latest in a new crop of Middle Eastern restaurants to launch in London.

Arabica is a buzzy, modern affair; the decor features references to 1960s France and the Ottoman Empire sat alongside a concrete bar, exposed brick walls and copper lighting. The staff are friendly and attentive, kindly suggesting wine pairings for each dish.

The menu offers a selection of classic meze dishes including hummus, tabouleh and baba ganoush, alongside a few signature favourites: Armenian-style lahmacun (a lamb dish), semolina-crumbed squid and house pickles. For us the star of the show was a dish called sujuk pide, a Turkish-style pizza with spiced beef sausage and halloumi cheese.

To drink, we opted for a bottle of the Quinta Vale Das Escadinhas, a Portuguese red that matched the lamb and spiced beef wonderfully, followed by a pot of fresh mint tea.

As it was a Friday night, it was probably a little livelier than it may be on a typical weeknight, but if you’re planning a weekend date here, don’t worry: it’s just on the right side of the speakeasy barometer.

Overall, the combination of excellent service, edgy decor and a wide variety of dishes on offer makes Arabica a welcome new addition to London’s Middle Eastern food scene and a highly recommended destination for a date night in the city.

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