Honey & Co – London W1T
December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Hidden away along Warren Street, this simple little bistro is making waves.
Sitting at a waterside beach bar last summer, overlooking the stunning Croatian seas, Char asked me if I had been to the amazing Honey & Co restaurant back in London. Cue panic. No – I’d never even heard of it!
Since then, it has come up time and time again, so last month I jumped at the chance to gate-crash my friends’ double date and join them at the now impossible to book Honey & Co.
The restaurant is tiny. A coffee shop counter dominates the back wall, overlooking a handful of tables and shelves of preserves, seasonings and relishes. It looks like someone who loves cooking thought it might be nice to shove a few tables out front, jar up a few sauces and see what happens. The result is an utter success.
We started with the highly recommended ‘Luxury mezze‘ for the table. An array of little dishes arrived in staggered succession so we never quite knew when everything had arrived.
The ‘chunky hummus‘ was a refreshing reminder that low-fat Tescos own brand, is not houmous at all - I’m now not sure I can ever go back – whilst ‘Yemeni falafel‘ looked like nothing special but tasted incredible – the bright green centres were filled with fragrant herbs and intense flavours.
A plate of ‘Artichoke hearts and Kashkaval’ was full of colour and earthiness, but lost out to the favourite; ‘Poached quince & honeyed hazelnuts’. The sweetened, crunchy nuts contrasted with the creamy cheese, the soft, tart quince and bitter leaves.
Our mains arrived in a similarly staggered succession, so we all had time to jealously eye each other’s feasts. A striking dish of ‘Madfunia – slow cooked chicken with chestnuts and golden raisins hidden in a nest of kadaif’ (£14.5) was first to arrive, heightening our excitement of what was to come. My dish of ‘Royal mansaf – slow cooked lamb on saffron rice, almonds & golden raisins’ (£14.5) was fragrant with saffron, sweetened with raisins and creamy with tahini which dominated the tender lamb and brought the whole dish together.
‘Lamb and aubergine moussaka, green leaves’ (£14.5) was decadently rich. Sticky with red wine and heavy with a depth of flavour which requires hours of cooking, demonstrating years of family secrets. The ‘Violet aubergine grilled with tahini BBQ squace, served with jewelled rice salad’ (£14.5) was as stunning a dish as any other, again combining sweet and savoury, and silky smooth with a crunch.
Despite failing to clear our plates, I refused to allow us to forego dessert entirely, having spotted the cakes on the counter as soon as we walked in. Between the five of us we shared ‘Warm pistachio cake, roasted plums, sour cream’ (£5.5) and ‘Warm chestnut & whiskey cake with salt caramel (gluten free)’ (£5.5). Both cakes were moist and pleasingly sweet without being too sugared.
A steaming pot of mint tea was all we needed to continue our evening and chit chat for another hour or so, until finally our kind waiter pleaded with us to make our way out into the chilly night.
Honey & Co is said to be “a labour of nothing but love“. And it shows. The food is refreshing and comforting and utterly enjoyable. And so yet again, I am indebted to Paul and Tom for making that impossible reservation, and to Char, to letting me in on the Honey & Co secret. I’m so thankful for friends like these.
NB. As a rule, I am not negative about the places I visit. If I don’t like somewhere, I won’t tell you about it. However, I feel obliged to tell you that at the beginning of our evening, we popped in for a drink at newly opened Trunk Bar, on Warren Street. Do NOT do this. The 3 seconds we spent in the door-way were fantastically unpleasant. The five of us recoiled as one. Don’t be fooled by the stylish looking website – it is in fact a garish, loud and entirely unappealing dive. Enough said.