Israeli-born chef Eran Tibi will launch his first standalone project, Bala Baya, in January bringing a taste of Tel Aviv to the Union Street Arches in London's Southwark.
The 76-cover restaurant plus café and bar area has been designed by design studio Afroditi Krassa to reflect the Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv.
Tibi, who previously worked at Ottolenghi, Made in Camden and Zest@JW3, has teamed up with When Mac Met Cheese founder Sammy Shonn, who apparently shares Tibi's fascination with the White City.
Bala Baya's lower floor will be modelled on Tel Aviv's café culture with an open kitchen and bar reminiscent of the Bauhaus balcony of the city's Cinema Hotel, while a more refined experience will be on offer upstairs in the restaurant, which will accommodate tables of up to 16.
The daytime menu will be based around a custom-made pitta oven, designed by Tibi's father, and will range from breakfast pastries to contemporary takes on the classic pitta pocket at lunchtime, which can be eaten in or taken away.
The evening menu will reflect the hands-on and hands-in approach of family-style dining that as at the heart of Tibi's cuisine. It will feature dishes, such as salt blackened salmon with tahini, pickled chilli, tomato pulp and herb oil, and tea-smoked aubergine with harissa and date glaze, spicy nut crumb, lime and goats curd.
Bala Baya's cocktail list has been devised by Ali Reynolds, winner of Diageo Reserve World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2015 using produce from Israel's "singular landscape and Mediterranean climate". Signature cocktails will include tomato and cucumber negroni, truffle sour and pink grapefruit julep.
The restaurant will also feature London's first Gazoz Bar, which will serve daily blends of the fruity, sparkling botanical drink popular with the residents of Tel Aviv since the 1920s.
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