Arabica has been serving the classic mezze flavours of Levantine-inspired cuisine in Borough since its early days as a stall in the Market. After the success of the first Arabica Bar & Kitchen, the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant has opened this second site in King’s Cross, situated on the ground floor of the Aga Khan Centre.
With seats up at the counter and communal bench seating, large windows and modern furnishings, the 66-cover dining room boasts fashionable design elements from the team responsible for the interiors at Temper and The Palomar. The food from the open kitchen, meanwhile, includes dishes exclusive to King’s Cross inspired by Beirut, Istanbul and Tel Aviv as well as some of the most-loved dishes from Borough.
Helpful and knowledgeable staff recommend ordering four dishes per person to be shared. Hummus KX has subtle hints of chilli and garlic while smoky aubergine is complemented perfectly by sweet pomegranate in moutabel; both are even better when scooped up with fluffy, piping hot flatbreads.
Salty grilled halloumi comes with Turkish figs and orange blossom honey, while lahmacun, the Turkish-style pizza, is topped with lamb mince, sumac, onions and lemon, all full of flavour. We also enjoyed a generous portion of seven-spice chicken wings with spiced cauliflower, and Turkish peppers – a Russian roulette of mild and sweet mixed with hot and almost unbearably spicy (eat with caution).
There is also a selection of grass-fed halal steaks and an impressive wine list to pair them with, including emerging new world wines. Classic cocktails include an Espresso Martini strong enough to keep you awake at night and Rania’s Spritz, a Middle Eastern variation on the classic Aperol Spritz with rosewater, chilli and sea salt.
Breakfast options are served at the weekend, while there are 40 seats on the terrace outside when the sun shines – just the place to sip a Turkish coffee with a hint of green cardamom, with or without Turkish delight.