This hip, Bauhaus-inspired restaurant brings a slice of Tel Aviv to Bankside
Words Hannah Hopkins
Bankside’s Union Street Arches are quickly becoming a new foodie hotspot and central to this is Bala Baya – a new all-day eatery that shines the spotlight on Israeli food.
The first stand-alone project from Israeli-born Head Chef Eran Tibi, protégé of Sami Tamimi and formerly of Ottolenghi, Made in Camden and the critically acclaimed Zest@JW3, the vibrant menu is packed with Middle Eastern home cooking.
Downstairs, inspired by Tel Aviv’s cafe culture, there’s a fast-paced, grab-and-go setting including an open kitchen and bar reminiscent of the world famous Bauhaus balcony of Tel Aviv’s Cinema Hotel. Upstairs there’s a more refined dinner menu and spacious tables.
Kick things off with one of their killer cocktails, which feature twists on classics. We were huge fans of the Basil & Gin Sour and the Tomato & Cucumber Negroni. Plates are designed for sharing – perfect for those who get major food envy.
We’re advised to order about three dishes each, which is pretty hard to do, considering how many sound utterly delicious. We opted for chickpea & ox, bitter orange chicken, calamari & jam, cauliflower with crumble and yoghurt, aubergine tea with milk and pink fir potatoes with horseradish cream. It was plate after plate of deliciousness. So much so, we can’t pick a favourite. A dessert of tahini, banana, tonka, pistachio cheesecake rounds things off nicely.
We’ll be heading back to sample the alluring selection of Israeli brunch favourites on the weekends. With late night events planned and a Gazoz Bar in-house, this is the all-day foodie hub that London Bridge needs.
Old Union Yard Arches, SE1 0LR