I was sick for most of January. It wasn’t fun (of course, it never is). I’ll spare you the details. Just know that I wasn’t in a good place.
When the fog cleared and the antibiotics kicked in, the hubby and I ventured out to Honey and Co before catching a show. Honey & Co is a tiny, tiny Middle Eastern restaurant over on Warren Street not terribly far from where we live. I’ve been told by several friends that it was a definite must-try.
Honey and Co is famous here in England. The owners, the husband-and-wife team of Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, also have a line of cookbooks out (check out their cookbook here and their baking book here, both available in the U.S.). We started our meal with their set variety of meze (small plates) which consisted of hummus, falafel, grilled mushrooms, cucumber salad and the creamiest tahini (sesame sauce) I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, this stuff went down like silk.
Small plates are really popular here in London, and I, frankly, have a love-hate relationship with them. On the one hand, I love being able to try a bunch of different flavors in one sitting, and we rarely have the opportunity to go out with a large group to try a bunch of full-sized dishes. On the other hand, small plates are annoying because you’re supposed to share, but you can’t. I mean, how am I supposed to split a single meatball three ways? Don’t get me started on ribs. I really get worked up when a small plate of ribs arrives at my table. Ribs are not meant for sharing. Ribs are meant to be eaten straight off the bone, covering your face with meat shreds and sauce and stickiness. Sidenote: if you really want to know if you’re meant to be with someone, order ribs on a date. If they find your carnivore-gnashing ways endearing, marry that person immediately. (Not coincidentally, I slow-roasted some ribs for the hubby on our third date, and to this day I fully believe those ribs are the foundation of my marriage.)
Honey and Co’s set menu lets you pick from one of their hearty mains. The hubby picked the royal mansaf, a slow-cooked lamb dish garnished with golden raisins and almonds, then slathered in a rich tahini sauce. I love slow-cooked meats too (see above: ribs as wooing mechanism), so I picked the madfunia, a slow-cooked chicken dish seasoned with chestnuts and wrapped in a crispy, flat-bread like crust called kadaif.
I liked my chicken — it was fall-apart tender, earthy and comforting. The chestnuts just slightly sweetened the meat, and I thought the pomegranate salad accompaniment was fresh and light. But the lamb? Oh, Nelly, that lamb was other-worldly. The lamb shreds gave way to the most perfect rice, the kind of rice that makes you wonder how it’s both soft and crunchy at the same time. The tahini sauce was savory and creamy, giving the entire dish this really rich flavoring without being heavy. I think about that lamb even when I’m not around it, and I wonder what that lamb is doing without me. I picture that lamb and me running hand in hand, through fields of gently waving clover, and I want that lamb to be the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I speak to before I fall asleep at night.
Goodness, I think I need to have a talk with the hubby. He might have competition …