Bubala

Silver Award
££££
Middle Eastern, Vegetarian

Bubala
Bubala
Bubala
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SquareMeal Review of Bubala

Silver Award

Bubala is a fast-paced, achingly hip vegetarian restaurant which takes its inspiration from the complex flavours and textures of the Middle East.

Taking over the space where Indian restaurant Gul & Sepoy once stood, Bubala’s dining room is a tightly packed space with enough room for only around 30 diners. The interiors are stripped back, featuring the obligatory trendy restaurant hallmarks of potted plants, rickety wooden furniture and bare plaster walls. The format of the menu also aligns itself with current trends, with the food offering designed to share and dishes arriving at the table as and when they are ready.

While the menus at some vegetarian restaurants can be bland or restricted, we have to admit that the bold flavours on show at Bubala meant we barely even noticed that we’d gone a whole dinner without any meat.

Highlights from our visit included thick slices of fried aubergine which were slicked with a luminous green zhough that revealed lively notes of chilli and coriander, as well as a vibrant fattoush salad that was topped with feta crumble and crunchy shavings of kadaif (a noodle-like pastry that’s native to the Middle East).

Potato latkes were another stand-out, although these turned out not to really be latkes at all, but instead confit layered potatoes, pressed together in a dense block. This dish has popped up on several London menus in recent years, but Bubala’s crisp, golden versions have a trump card in the shape of the devilishly good garlic sauce they’re served with, which conjures up images of 2am feasting in kebab shops.

The staff at Bubala are sweet-natured and knowledgeable, although diners who are accustomed to Middle Eastern cuisine could find their ‘do you understand the menu?’ style of questioning a little patronising. On the drinks side of things, there’s a list of mainly European wines and three peppy cocktails to choose from (think along the lines of a Plum Spritz), while desserts include coconut sorbet and rich salted caramel truffles.

Fun, keenly priced and full of cool, young Londoners, Bubala is certainly one to watch. 

About Bubala

This Middle Eastern concept started out life as a pop up, having hosted a number of sell-out supper clubs across the capital in 2018. Now though, it’s managed to snag a permanent site on Commercial Street in trendy Shoreditch.

The intimate restaurant only seats around 30 diners and is a casual space accepting both walk-ins and reservations. The menu is entirely vegetarian and the majority of the dishes present are designed to share, with Bubala taking its inspiration from the modern cafes found in Tel Aviv.

Dishes are cooked on an open grill and feature a mix of traditional and more unconventional flavour combinations – think cabbage braised in pomegranate with zaatar chimichurri, fried aubergine with date syrup and zhoug (a spicy coriander sauce), and confit potato latkes, served with garlicky toum. On the drinks front, you’ll find red and white house wines on tap, as well as a selection of bottles from Lebanon and the Middle East and a concise list of cocktails.

The restaurant is the debut project for Marc Summers, who was previously general manager at popular Middle Eastern joint Berber & Q. Summers is joined by head chef Helen Graham, who comes with a wealth of culinary experience, including stints at The Palomar in Soho, The Barbary in Covent Garden and The Good Egg in Soho’s bustling Kingly Court.

Bubala gets its name from a Yiddish term of endearment that loosely translates as ‘darling’ or ‘sweetie’. Speaking about the opening, Summers said: “I feel like there is such appetite for Middle Eastern food in London; the flavour combinations and gentle spicing techniques are perfect to showcase vegetables and vegetarian cooking, and the sharing menu is a great way for friends and family to come together over food, which is exactly the kind of place we want to be.”

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Middle Eastern, Vegetarian
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
People
Dates
Food Hygiene Rating

Bubala is featured in

Best Spitalfields restaurants

Location for Bubala

65 Commerical Street , Shoreditch, London, E1 6BD

020 7392 2111

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon 18:00-22:00
Tue 18:00-22:30
Wed 18:00-22:30
Thu 18:00-22:30
Fri 18:00-22:30
Sat 18:00-22:30
Sun Closed

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