Workshop Coffee closed it’s flagship store on Clerkenwell Road last summer leaving us wondering for months what would happen with the empty digs. Then earlier this year, a new Middle Eastern Eatery moved in to fill the void. With a nod to Israeli and Jewish Cuisine, Sarona is the latest restaurant to open in London exploring flavours from the region.
A bright orange canopy hangs over the front of Sarona to lure the attention of passers by. Once you step inside, the interior is minimal with exposed brick walls and an open bar in the centre of the room.
The atmosphere is casual with low lighting, but the rear of the restaurant is filled with natural light coming from a glorious glass roof above.
An upstairs area boasts more seating and a balcony overlooking diners below. We were hoping to sit here, but it just turned out to be a staff walkway! It’s definitely a space they should make more of.
The menu is split into four sections; Raw, Fried, Chargrilled and Comforting. All dishes are described as ‘small plates’ but we can confirm the portion sizes are incredibly generous. Prices range from £6 – £16.
From Raw; we opted for the Palestinian cheese, organic tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. After a quick google, we think the Palestinian cheese they’re referring to is Nabulsi, a semi hard brined cheese typically made from sheep or goats milk. To us, it tasted similar to an Italian mozzarella.
From Fried; we chose a plate piled high with hot, crispy cauliflower, tahini and sumac; a spice frequently used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
From Chargrilled; the burnt aubergine, tahini and date syrup was warm and fragrant. I also sampled the only meat based dish we ordered – my companion for the night was Vegan – the lamb arayes, tahini and harissa. An arayes is a sort of pita bread sandwich. It was stuffed with minced lamb and the tahini and harissa were served on the side.
This was perhaps my least favourite dish. Not that it was bad, more that the rest was so good! The vegetarian dishes on offer are incredibly well thought out and as a meat eater, I found the flavours of each so wholesome and not lacking a meat ingredient at all.
We didn’t select anything from the Comforting plates however when we revisit, the chicken schnitzel and mash will be our top choice. The wine to accompany these fabulous dishes was a Duc de France white boasting light vanilla tones.
Sarona is the perfect spot for vegetarian, vegan and meat eaters alike. Whilst it’s relatively new, you can nab a table most evenings by walking in off the street. A great one to visit on a sultry summers eve.
To book a table, visit www.saronalondon.com
27 Clerkenwell Rd