So what do we need to know about Bubala?
This pop up turned permanent spot is the debut restaurant of Marc Summers, previously General Manager at Berber & Q. He's joined here by Head Chef Helen Graham (The Palomar, The Barbary and The Good Egg) for this Middle Eastern vegetarian restaurant, "inspired by Tel Aviv's modern cafes". It also topped the charts for Hot Dinners readers who voted it their best new restaurant opening of 2019.
Where exactly is it?
You'll find it just south of Spitalfields Market on Commercial Street. The nearest tubes are probably Liverpool Street or Aldgate East and it's a short walk from Shoreditch High Street on the overground.
Where should we meet friends for a drink first?
It's halfway between The Ten Bells and The Culpeper both of which are lovely pubs and easy recommendations. Or if it's cocktails you're after, 46 & Mercy nearby is also a good shout.
So what kind of food is it?
Lots of people have told us they didn't realise Bubala was a vegetarian restaurant until about halfway through their meal. The menu is so good, you definitely won't miss that meat if you're a carnivore or flexitarian. Dishes are also marked on the menu if they're vegan or non-gluten free. And anything asterisked can be made vegan if requested. There are a couple of snacks, but you're in general small and larger dish territory. So it's best to order a few as you go along.
Here's what we had:
Room for dessert?
The two of us were encouraged to order all three desserts and we were glad we did. In addition to three lovely, squidgy salted caramel truffles (£4) we also had:
What about drinks?
We were ploughing through Dry January on our visit, and we really enjoyed one of the non-alcoholic drinks on offer, a delicious sparkling plum tonic (£4).
But if you were going to drink, there are some cracking sounding cocktails on the list, including the wonderfully-named Saline Dion - featuring Maldon sea salt, freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice and combined with fresh lime and agave syrup for balance and topped up with Prosecco.
As for wine, it's a very accessible and shortish list - with about 50% of bottles in the £20s and £30s range. There's an interesting sounding Txakoli Rosado we'd like to have a go at next time (£40).
Clearly Hot Dinners readers are a discerning bunch. After our dinner, we quite understand why this is such a popular place (it was heaving on a Tuesday evening in January). It's cosy, friendly and serving up the kind of food Londoners want a lot of more of nowadays, plant-based but with none of that lab-grown stuff. It's all about great vegetarian and vegan food where taste is all.
Hot Dinners were guests of Bubala. Prices correct at time of publication
More about Bubala
Where is it? 65 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6BD
How to book? Book online
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