Honey and Co. and cheese and cake
Honey and Co. is a little daytime cafe on Warren Street. It was recently set up by husband and wife team Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, both of whom have previously worked at Ottolenghi. As it is on my way to work I occasionally pop in for my morning coffee, but only when I can justify having something to sweet to go with it. It is impossible to leave this cafe with just a coffee – the pastries piled up in the window are far too delectable to turn down.
On Wednesday one of my colleagues and I were keen to get out of the office for a proper natter so I suggested we went there for lunch. All the tables were fully booked (it is tiny, but given its nondescript location that is still pretty impressive) but we found a seat at the bar looking out on Warren Street. It is very basic inside, just clean wooden tables and stools, and a shelf stacked with glass jars filled with homemade jams and chutneys to take away. They also stock Middle Eastern ingredients (harissa, orange blossom water etc.), just in case your meal inspires you to get cooking at home. However what the decoration lacks in warmth, the service more than makes up for. In addition to Itamar and Sarit there were three lovely girls who were charming, friendly and keen to talk about the food. Just the sort of service I like. But even better than this, they were all wearing bright red lipstick.
My colleague had a lemonade and I had one of their homemade ice teas. There were a choice of two options, one with cinnamon in and an orange and orange blossom. I had the latter. I have previously had drinks with orange blossom that taste suspiciously like bath suds (a cocktail at Barrio Central springs to mind) but this was sweet, syrupy and rather delicious. As we were just there for a quick lunch we went straight for mains. Medias – stuffed violet aubergines with tomato, maftoul & herbs, and goats cheese – for my colleague and Madfunia – buried chicken tagine with chestnuts, raisins and date molasses – for myself. The tagine came served under a hat of thin crisp pastry threads (not entirely sure what they are actually called) and was very very good – tender pulled chicken in a sauce that was just the right combination of sweet and spicy.
Needing to get back to the office we went to pay. But then one of the lovely lipsticked ladies mentioned desserts. She said she had three favourites but I only let get as far as describing the first one before ordering it to take away with me. Cheesecake – but so much better. The base was the same crisp pastry threads as I had on top of my tagine, but with a dollop of thick tangy cream cheese (I hate overly sweet cheesecake) on top. It was sprinkled with pistachios and fresh blueberries, and drizzled with Regent’s Park honey for a touch of sweetness. And to make it even better the lovely waitress drew a cheese and a cake on my takeaway box. Now that is service.