yoSupporting the London Foundation is no easy feat. Despite living in Warren Street for only 10 years – a flash in London’s history – Honey & Co has snuck into the hearts of many foodies, in large part due to its casual yet glamorous brilliance. It wasn’t a fancy “smart jacket and long-term hold” type of thing. You can go to Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s little Middle Eastern restaurant any Tuesday at lunchtime and they’ll try to squeeze you into the sausage rolls, Shakshuka and Merges. Or for a few rounds of sbeiche (roasted eggplant drizzled with fresh pita). Sarit grew up in northern Israel. Itamar was born in Jerusalem. Sarrett, at one point, headed the pastry teams at Otolenghi restaurants, while Itamar was head chef in the Notting Hill and Belgravia branches. Honey & Co was their budding solo project, and London took the couple’s dinner parties with passion. My memories of humid London nights while wiping hummus made with fresh beans and ramson-leaf labneh, or eating feta spiced with paprika.
Honey & Co’s demon was in the details: This wasn’t just falafel; Fresh falafel was on a spiced tahini slick with a scented Lebanese cucumber salad, and chicken shish came with green freekeh, pea salad, and herbs. Eating a lot more than you intended was a must, due to the immeasurable generosity of the scent of orange blossom in the ambiance that led customers to order the cheesecake with honey and cheese. This is where full-fat Philadelphia double cream, icing sugar, and feta meet and sit heroically on the Kdaif Pastry nest.
When Honey & Co Warren Street announced its closure, there was plenty of affection from fans, though a quick plan was put in place to reopen at Bloomsbury’s alternate home, on Lamb’s Conduit, directly opposite the gorgeous Noble Rot – the name it must have All readers get it cache for a special occasion. Having Honey & Co and Noble Rot just a wink away from each other feels right; Both are restaurants that have quietly become a proponent of the London dining scene. However, when I set out for my first dinner at Honey & Co’s brand new, fresher, and prettier store, I freaked out. You can’t just “move” a restaurant. The magic lies in the plethora of little things other than the food: the acoustics, the closeness of the tables, the traffic noise, the location of the void, the smell of too much or too little cooking, etc. The owners can move locations and serve the same dishes on the same plates but the spell is somehow broken.
I shouldn’t have worried because on a warm July evening – the kind of weather that leaves the back of your knees wet – the spare seats were in great demand as I sat enjoying a pot of iced tea.
The summer 2022 roster is one of the best. Beware: the small plates are big in size, so my diminutive “home pickle platter” was an abundance of cabbage, pickled cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, and kalamata olives. Peach salad with juice, sweet fruit and goat cheese sprinkled with almonds was fantastic. Hummus is not just ground chickpeas, but a bowl of pungent green peppers Tatbela Seasoning covered with crunchy fried chickpeas.
If your appetite is small, one can stop ordering there. But that’s not fun, is it? Why miss the crispy lamb shoulder with feta and Urfa butter that comes with leafy watercress and a mint salad and feel like you’re loading good vitamins straight onto your face? Or a serving of thyme-covered crispy potatoes on labneh, which was £13.50 but was enough to feed two or three?
Yes, Honey & Co is a little different now, maybe more mature and formal, but the old-fashioned beauty is in spades. The service was warm and prompt, and when the food started arriving, there were audible gasps for the attention to detail, because you can buy Honey & Co recipe books until it’s blue in your face, but you’ll never make Yemeni falafel or taramasalata with pickled red onions and chopped eggs just as they are made. Submit it here.
Rejoice! The feta cheesecake and honey are still on display. However, I do recommend the Chocolate Terrazzo Cake, a slice of frosted, glossy, dazzling triple-layered chocolate cake – the evening I visited – with marzipan ice cream that could be one of the greatest things I’ve had this year. We discussed this ice cream for several days afterwards. It wasn’t even in the bill on the menu. Why are they hiding it? Was it an improvised invention? Will there be more of it? These things keep me awake at night. There are a lot of things you have to worry about in life right now. I prefer to focus on my stomach.
Honey & Co., 54 Lamb Conduit Street, London WC1N 3LW. 020 7388 6175, honeyandco.co.uk. Tue – Sat, 9:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. About £50 per person for dinner, plus drinks and service.