Carmel: Team behind Berber & Q to open new restaurant in Queen’s Park

·3-min read
Expected highlight: Harissa-marinated prawns (Carmel)
Expected highlight: Harissa-marinated prawns (Carmel)

The team behind Berber & Q and its Exmouth Market sister Shawarma bar say they are “coming of age” as they announce plans for a new London restaurant, set to open in early October.

The Katz brothers, Josh and Paul, and Mattia Bianchi, will open Carmel on Lonsdale Road in Queen’s Park, promising an all-day menu and a 60-strong wine list.

Similarly to Berber, the food will draw on influences from north Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, much of it cooked in a wood-fired oven. Dishes will include the likes of blackened aubergine with tehina and smacked cucumber, as well as roasted cod with clams and fennel. Other highlights are expected to be grilled harissa-marinated prawns, Tamworth pork chops served with garlic, and Sutton Hoo chicken plated with curry-pickled radicchio and given an apricot glaze.

Speaking to the Standard, Josh Katz said of the opening: “We’ve always wanted to bring an all-day offering to market, creating a restaurant that can transform itself through the course of the day and into the night.

“I think people might think of this as a more grown-up version of what we’ve done to date, dare I say a coming of age. Though, truthfully I don’t feel anymore grown up than I was six years ago when we started in Haggerston, and I think Mattia is actually going in reverse in that regard.”

Bright future: the restaurant’s anchovies (Carmel)
Bright future: the restaurant’s anchovies (Carmel)

While Queen’s Park is yet to be a restaurant hotspot, Katz said the area – which he lived in for a number of years – draw him him and the team as “it feels like its own village, which is very much part of our ethos as a group.” Lonsdale Road is also something of a local favourite, and is already home to popular Aussie eatery, Milk Beach.

No doubt the team will be hoping to draw some of that village to the new place, which the Katz duo and Bianchi keenly stress is not a Berber 2.0, but an entirely new and separate project. It will seat 44 inside, with a terrace for 30.

“Carmel will definitely be a touch more polished and refined than either Berber & Q or Shawarma Bar, but we’re planning not to lose any of our heart and soul that we worked so hard to incubate in our other restaurants. It will still feel relaxed and informal, otherwise it just wouldn’t be us.”

He continued, by way of explaining the name: “Carmel is a reference to a garden or vineyard. There were many reasons why this felt appropriate. After the 18 months we’ve all just had, with all of our lives on pause, it feels like the right moment for regrowth and new bloom.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s been a tough year for our industry, as it has been for almost everybody, except maybe Jeff Bezos. But out of the darkness comes light”

Carmel will open on Lonsdale Road, NW6 6RR in early October. For more information, visit carmelrestaurant.co.uk

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