Pronounced ‘barboon’, which means red mullet in Turkish, this Shoreditch newcomer is the all-day opening from chef Hus Vedat, the name behind modern Turkish restaurant Yosma, with the kitchen headed up by chef Fez Ozalgan (Barbecoa, Yosma London and Hovarda), focussing on plates inspired by traditional dishes from the eastern Mediterranean.
Located on the ground floor of the new Hart Hotel on forever-bustling Great Eastern Street, Barboun is a smart addition to the street-art covered corners of this vibrant area, and you don’t have to squeeze yourself into a tiny booth to enjoy its menu either, there is plenty of space. A tall lightwood ceiling adds warmth and, combined with large windows, rattan touches and soft neutral colours, the space has an airy, calm ambiance as the traffic whizzes by outside. The areas between tables are also broken up with small trees strategically dotted around for added privacy and biophilic effect. Be sure to head down the statement spiral staircase to the bathrooms on the lower ground floor before you leave – a collision of Modernist and Art Deco touches makes it worth the trip.
Made up of nibbles, smalls plates, big plates and sides, the menu is set up for sharing, but you can easily go for a starter and main each if you aren’t feeling communal. The halloumi saganaki, from north-London producer Kupros Dairy, is like no other halloumi we have tried. Crisp on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside, and topped with London honey, walnut and apricot, it’s a delicious contrast of salty and sweet. The dolma of sun-dried aubergine, sour cherry, bulgar and garlic yoghurt are moreish parcels that come with quite a kick, while the red mullet with chunky muhammara and walnut is a standout dish, perfectly cooked fish pieces on a bed of spicy dip that make it clear why it’s namesake-worthy. A side of batata harra, fried potato with coriander and lime, arrives crispy and flavourful, and is great for mopping up any extra sauce. For dessert, the delicate Burma baklava with walnut, cinnamon syrup and clotted ice cream rounds things off with a crunch of subtle sweetness.
There are eight house cocktails on the menu, and each one includes innovative combinations of intriguing ingredients. Try the 23 (Zacapa 23 rum, hibiscus falernum, dry Curacao, lime sherbet, Angostura bitters) for a crisp, refreshing antidote to some of the spicier dishes. The wine list focuses on sustainable and organically farmed wines, with two orange wine options. Award-winning sparkling wine Nyetimber makes an appearance should you require some fizz, and the beer selection includes a Yosma IPA.
Sharing plates, dessert and cocktails for two, £120
Great for client lunches during the day that require a more sophisticated atmosphere, or for catching up with friends over cocktails and a dinner that’s definitely a conversation starter.
Barboun, 61-67 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3HU; barboun.com