Following on from the success of Berber & Q Grill House, Josh Katz & Mattia Bianchi will open their second restaurant, Berber & Q Shawarma Bar, at 46 Exmouth Market this June.
The new restaurant will specialise in shawarma, slow-cooked on a rotating spit over hot coals alongside Middle Eastern cocktails, wine and beer.
Josh (previously at Ottolenghi, Galvin Bistrot Deluxe and Zest) will take influence for Shawarma Bar from all over – Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, and closer to home, the shawarma houses of Golders Green he visited as a schoolboy growing up in North London.
“We started experimenting with shawarma at the Grill House,” he says. “It’s a dish that has huge nostalgic value for me, and if done properly deserves it’s own platform to shine, I’ve eaten shawarma all over the world; from Tel Aviv where it’s served in pita, to discovering it’s roots in Jordan and versions in Istanbul.
Occupying a 40-cover site on Exmouth Market, Shawarma Bar’s interiors will be designed by Phoebe Lewis at Lewis Cook Design. Enormous, bi-fold windows will open out onto the Market and feature a takeaway hatch.
Inside, a bar lined with yellow Zellige tiles will stretch half of the space, overhung with greenery, tangles of dried chilli and garlic and shelves stocked with fresh produce and spices.
Seating will comprise a mixture of tan leather-clad bar stools and steel framed low stools, tucked under reclaimed wood tables. Distressed metro tiles will provide a backdrop to the bar, which will come to a finish at the restaurant’s open kitchen, framed with panels of contrasting metal mesh.
A corridor lined with vintage photography, posters and battered street signs from the Middle East will lead to a second dining room, housing an enormous antique mirror.