Arabica Bar & Kitchen is a new restaurant and bar situated within Borough Market.
The new venue opened to the public on 23rd June and serves up Levantine inspired cuisine, which combines food from various parts of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The restaurant is owned by the Arabica Food and Spice Company which previously operated from a market stall for 14 years at Borough Market. However, owner James Walters decided to swap the market stall for a seated bar and kitchen in order to bring his cuisine to more customers.
The food is inspired by the regions of Turkey, India, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel; in addition to those little crossovers that border those countries. Speaking to Owner of the restaurant, James Walters, Premier Hospitality wanted to find out some information on the project and the business itself.
“The cuisine label of Levantine has permitted us to be playful and creative with the menu, allowing us to incorporate dishes inspired by travelling. However, this doesn’t mean that we have integrated any fusion cooking in the sense of adding ingredients that shouldn’t be there.
“The feedback has been great; we have received some really positive responses. It also seems as if the general overview of the public is improving each week as we have had to turn customers away due to lack of room with how busy it has been recently.”
The 80 cover restaurant is set out on one level, in a large industrious brick lined Victorian railway arch offering a sense of eccentricity and charm. The design of the bar kitchen is complete with an open plan kitchen, leather banquettes, reclaimed iroko table tops and a polished concrete bar top, with cultural embellishments dotted throughout the space.
The open plan kitchen features a clay oven, the perfect restaurant feature for baking fresh Levantine bread and an assortment of pastries. Also, a large robata grill fired up with English charcoal sits in the kitchen for adding an authentic charred flavour to particular dishes on the menu.
Old 1950’s school chairs, vintage modern mid-century furniture and bar stools provide a selection of seating to offer a choice to customers and also add a dash of variety to the room. All bar stools and tables within the diner are bespoke, hand-made by a friend of James Walters. With a combination of leather booths, tables with seating and high top tables, the layout presents a sense of adventure on various levels.
Arabica’s menu consists of an extensive list of mezze made with numerous vegetables, rare-breed meat and fish cooked on the charcoals in the robata grill. Stone baked pastries and authentic classics mixed with modern cuisine inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean also appear on the diverse menu. A selection of dishes that appear on the menu include Dexter beef and bone marrow kofta, buffalo ricotta with crushed pistachios and walnut baklawa with chios mastica ice cream.
In addition to the tempting dishes on offer, a number of Levantine inspired cocktails are available from the bar as well as house made sodas and a concise wine list chosen by a wine specialist. The bar also offers delightful cold bar bites for those who are seated merely for a few drinks rather than meal.
When asked why the project was important to him, James said:
“The project was important to us as we’ve been in this trade for seven years now and we believed we needed to evolve. We had lots of people saying at the market stall they would love to eat inside and have a sit down meal, and I always had an urge myself to create a space like that where I could bring together the foods I love with different styles of eating.
“When I was younger I didn’t have the money or experience so much, however through learning we realised as a company that we needed a real venue, a home even that would allow us to expand on what we were doing already. The development to our Arabica Bar and Kitchen has allowed us to progress and be a lot more imaginative.”
Arabica is open Monday to Saturday, from 11am to 11pm Monday to Thursday; and 11am to 11.30pm Friday and Saturday. The kitchen currently serves food 12-3pm and re-opens at 5.30pm to 10.30pm.
For more information about Arabica Bar & Kitchen, please visit: www.arabicabarandkitchen.com.
Modo Commercial Kitchen Design
Modo Commercial Kitchen Design offers a full design, supply and installation service to the foodservice industry, providing solutions to any commercial catering facility, ranging from small coffee shops through to large banqueting operations. The firm has been in operation for four years and employs a team with many years’ experience in the commercial industry.
Modo have worked with an array of high profile clients including Villandry, Brompton Brands and Jasper’s Catering Services. Working on Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Modo Commercial Kitchen Design was responsible for the bars and food service areas of the venue, which included front of house equipment and refrigeration as well as back of house facilities including the prep kitchen.
Modo Commercial Kitchen Design, Design & Projects Director, Lee Swiffen, said:
“At Modo Commercial Kitchen Design we form a partnership with our clients and remain with them through every step of the process. We only take on a few projects at a time, and this allows us to provide that extra bit of service.
“We were in talks with James for a number of months before work had even started on the project and this allowed us to get a great understanding of his menu and what he wanted to achieve. Borough Market is a thriving hub for food and this project perfectly took the delicious cuisine of James Walters from his market stall into a great new restaurant.”