The taste of summer

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The taste of summer

New menus, new openings and a new event to get excited about

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

Summer 2022 was slow in coming but it has most definitely arrived at Cacao Bean Cafe in Borehamwood with the launch of the sunny summer tapas menu. It’s warm enough to have the bifold doors at the front open and rays of pure joy emanated from a succession of exquisite dishes on my visit. Some of those from the first menu are still there, including the fantastic (and very well-priced at £11.50) blackened cod and the prettiest-ever tuna tataki. We all loved the spicy salmon tacos with smashed avocado and tomato salsa. The miso aubergine was possibly the finest incarnation of this dish I’ve had, not least of all because it’s done differently so that it’s crispy as well as soft and gooey. If you ever needed proof that chef Kushan knows how to pair flavours, try the zaatar-spiced cauliflower with date compote (pictured above), which almost renders my least-favourite vegetable something akin to dessert. But for me the most exciting thing was to see Kushan bring his Sri Lankan heritage to the menu in the form of crispy lamb rolls. Coincidentally I had these at Hoppers just a few days before and on every level Kushan’s are better. Better texture, better flavour, better filling-to-casing ratio. A sharp creamy yuzu posset was the perfect light touch to finish this feast.

Loubia at Zak’s in Mill Hill

I’m excited about the opening of Zak’s in Mill Hill – a new Moroccan café promising meze, shakshuka, tagines and an authentic Moroccan breakfast with pancakes, fried eggs, olives, Moroccan beans (Loubia) and cheese with a side of olive oil and honey for dipping. I’ll definitely be heading there for my favourite Moroccan dish, Chicken Bastilla – a light, crispy pastry shell filled with saffron chicken, omelette stuffing, and a crunch topping of fried almonds sweetened with orange flavour water garnished with powdered sugar and cinnamon. To be able to get that on my doorstep is a very good reason to avoid airport chaos this summer. The café is named after the owners’ son and brother who sadly died when he was a little boy. Morocco was one of his favourite places and he loved sitting around the dinner table with his family. Today they hope to transport us to the valleys of the Atlas Mountains with their homegrown recipes and spices imported directly from Morocco with our organic honey and olive oil produced at Zak’s family farm.

Sushi at the Kosher Food and Wine Experience

The date 21st June is heavily ringed in my diary for the post-pandemic return of the annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience on 21st June at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane. We are being promised hundreds of kosher wines from all over the world, including fine wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux and more than a dozen Israeli wineries present. There will also be Arieh Wagner’s super-sumptuous all-you-can-eat buffet, which, if past years are anything to go by, is unmissable. So, in essence, you can sample hundreds of stunning wines, whiskys and champagnes, pile your plates high from the groaning buffet and chat to wine producers, who all have a story to tell. Last time I learned that the Five Stones winery in the Judean Hills is located in the spot where David famously slayed Goliath with a sling containing five stones. Truly a great night out.

Beetroot carpaccio at Michael’s

If you’ve been through Mill Hill Broadway recently, you might have noticed a new
sign that has popped up above the door at Numa. Michael Levi of Michael’s Brasserie in Woodside Park has taken over at the popular Israeli restaurant, keeping things pretty much the same but with ‘added twists’, he tells me. He’s not giving too much away but, later in the summer, the lunch offering will evolve to be something similar to what we’ve come to expect at his original café. Hopefully my favourite beetroot carpaccio with walnuts, goats cheese and rocket will
feature on the menu. Cordon Bleu-trained Michael has also worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, so I suspect some exciting dishes are on their way.


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