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Sarona Eatery creates recipes from across the rich culinary culture of the Middle East, in London!

June 5, 2018

I found out my biological mother was an Israeli drug addict/concert violinist. Being raised by my adoptive parents: a Californian Christian Scientist who was born a New York Jew whom then married a Methodist, being thus forth raised as a Christian Scientist (but really an atheist), the question of me venturing to Israel one day on a quest to find out where I’m from always allured me.

The Middle East is incredibly interesting and I thought I would detest Dubai; imagining it as an arid Vegas-style whore house covered in tacky bling, but surprisingly I loved it. It feels like you have stepped onto another planet, and perhaps in simply small doses, the grandeur, the service, the food, the immensity of the buildings (eh hem, the Burj) awed me.

Saran was historically a tiny place in Israel which attempted to thrive on self-sustained farming, but then formed a socialist-style community work movement which built houses and vineyards.

Present day, there has newly opened a Middle Eastern restaurant focused on Tel Aviv street food in East London called Sarona Eatery. Three friends Andre Avedian, Dan Levine, and Stuart Swycher wanted to open a social eating style place where fresh Yemenite style dishes like pita, houmous and traditional Shakshuka could be served in a relaxed setting.

Avedian and Swycher already have experience running a café called Fork Deli in Bloomsbury which specialises in cakes, brownies, salads, sandwiches; and of course, artisan coffee. Perhaps their love of coffee tempted them to take over the recently closed Workshop Coffee on the corner of St John’s Street and Clerkenwell Road which is their new location for Sarona.

I arrived at Sarona last Friday evening with my boyfriend and entered a spacious industrial styled room with immense brick walls, earthy coloured tables and brass lights emitting a warm orange glow. The upstairs is turning into a relaxing bar with cushions and seats where guests can enjoy cocktails, Tishbi Israeli wine or perhaps a glass of Beer Bazaar, a Jerusalem favourite.

We were greeted by the friendly manager Matt who showed us to an enclave in the brickwork at a relaxed table with paper menus. For starters, we tried the handmade Sarona Hummus with tahini sauce, chickpeas, schug and olive oil as well as the Sarona Trio which is a trio of Trio of chillies, schug, velvet tomato and grilled chilli. Both appetisers were incredibly fresh and delightful served alongside the hot basket of Pita bread with Za’aatar.

For mains, my boyfriend ordered the crispy chicken schnitzel and I had the incredibly good value All Day Shakshuka. It is served with 14-hour Hawayej roast lamb shoulder, slow cooked cherry tomatoes and free-range eggs served with grilled sourdough bread. Both mains were incredibly delicious, and I would highly recommend the lamb.

To end the evening, we shared a small and delicate piece of melt-in-your-mouth strudel with tiny chunks of apple, plum and orange blossom with toasted almonds and caramel pecan ice-cream. The filo puff pastry encrusted against the piping hot fruit was wafer thin and amazing.

I can’t wait to go back and try the Shabbat brunch on the Saturday or perhaps a weekday breakfast, so I can delve into the Halva twist, Rogelach, cheese Bourekas, smashed avocado on toasted challa with poached eggs and halloumi, and other delicious treats – all baked freshly on-site each morning.

A: 27 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RN
T: 0203 970 0490
W: Sarona Restaurant
Monday-Friday 07:30-23:00, Saturday 11:00-22:00

Written by Jessica Paterson for Luxuria Lifestyle

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