Again, a belated post. And who cares if this talks about something that happened more than a week ago? Not me, I love to see intentionally spooky looking food; dates are nothing when you face the immensity of time. Also, it’s my blog so I write about what I want! 😝
I got us dinner from Honey & Spice last year for our anniversary when we were in the midst of “Lockdown 2: the sequel you knew would happen”. Since it’s quite close to Halloween I also got two surprise bat cookies… which turned out to be a really good surprise after watching a train documentary that went through Transylvania (I did not know we were going to watch this!).
So when I saw that this year there would be an in-restaurant Halloween themed brunch, I didn’t think much, and signed us up quickly!
It was very tasty and quite fun and people were in really good spirits, with staff wearing various costumes and the food being so spooky looking!
We also appreciated that the whole menu was mostly vegetarian and well executed. We chose one vegetarian and one meat option, and the only difference was having quail instead of beetroot for the meat option. The rest was exactly the same. I’m already a “convert” but this demonstrates again that you don’t need to sacrifice flavour or enjoyment of food if you don’t eat meat.
We started with a “scary” welcome drink, which could be either a bloody mary or a “virgin mary”, which I chose.
I feel that I’m enjoying spiced things more lately, so I really enjoyed this even though I’m not a fan of tomato juice as a drink in general…
Stuffed pumpkin buns
We then moved to these beautiful pumpkin shaped buns, stuffed with pumpkin chirchi.
I was curious as to what ‘chirchi’ meant, so I researched when writing the post: it is a sort of pumpkin paste, which seems to have been created by Libyan Jews, who also call it chershi. Apparently it’s very popular in Israel nowadays!
I am always interested in learning how to shape bread in unusual ways, so I really appreciated this idea of tying some cord around the bun before baking so it gets a “pumpkin” shape.
It also was a good test of self-control: while we carefully undid the knot, a couple who arrived later had zero patience, and just tried to cut the string like their life depended on it. I mean, maybe it did. They looked a bit eccentric so what do I know!
This was so good. I mean, if there’s something I really love about the food at this group of restaurants, it has to be the babaganoush. I almost always order it.
This babaganoush was made using black sesame tahini to give it that grey dark sinister colour.
(Incidentally, I got that black tahini from their shop a few months ago, and it was the best tahini I’ve eaten this year so far).
The lavoush (flatbread) shaped as tombstones were hilarious (and delectable).
This was basically a lot of spiralised root vegetables. These tend to be LONG so you have to cut them before eating if you want to keep some decorum.
That eccentric couple I’ve mentioned above chose to live life dangerously and not cut them, instead trying to engulf as much “worm” as the dish would give them. Even if it meant eating 30 cm of “beetroot worm” non stop. It looked so visceral! We were a bit less exciting and cut the “worms” when needed, using our individual dishes to serve portions of this nice salad 😅
I enjoyed the combination of textures; the crispy noodles and peanuts were a nice complement to the spiralised vegetables, which can be a bit too much otherwise. The seasoning was very good as well – not too oily, not too tangy.
I felt the pumpkin here was a bit more decorative than anything-it was a bit plain, but maybe that’s what happens with smaller pumpkins (I never buy or cook those, so I don’t really have a baseline to base my opinion on). The tabbouleh was very good; again I liked the contrast of textures between soft and nutty.
At this point we also ordered two glasses of wine (one for each of us!), and for some strange reason I did not note what I ordered. I think mine was a 2020 Tempranillo which was smokey and spicy enough but not too heavy for this food as it was still pretty young. And Devvers had an Italian one… maybe the Sangiovese from 2019?
Eggs on a nest
Or, roasted beetroot on a nest.
I am not a big fan of beetroot but this one was enjoyable (as it didn’t taste so much of beetroot). If anything, the whole thing was too enjoyable; I could not finish the dish without risking an explosion.
The non-vegetarian option replaced the two beetroots with a quail.
This was quite fun again (although I would have enjoyed even more drama—perhaps with some steam like in the cafe in Matsumoto).
The swamp arrived “dry”, with the frog sitting on the immaculate white tapioca coconut pudding…
… and then we poured as much green pandan syrup as we wanted.
This being the half-empty bottle of syrup… it also looks a bit like a potion to me.
And finally, the bat cookies were back!
But we were so extremely full, we could not make space for them in our “internal pouch” (the stomach), so we asked to take them away so we could eat them some time later. The waiter brought them back in a box, which was nice.
These cookies are filled with red raspberry (I think) jam, so even if they’re quite rich with the chocolate, they don’t feel sickly sweet as the jam counterparts with its tang.
Overall we enjoyed the experience and the food!
Honey & Smoke
216 Great Portland Street
London W1W 5QW