Pop in to pop-up Perreh… but hurry!
'I highly rated the cooking, which sparkles with excellent ingredients'
25 July, 2019 — By Tom Moggach
Perreh’s tempting menu fuses influences from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and beyond
IT’S a magical story – a top chef sneaks into a bagel bakery after closing to cook the food of his dreams.
A local called Aviv Lavi has struck a two-week deal with Roni’s Bagel Bakery in Hampstead to serve a modern Middle Eastern menu every evening.
This charming pop-up restaurant is called Perreh.
But you’ll need to get your skates on to try it – last orders are likely to be this Sunday, July 28.
Lavi is a talented chef who has experienced the high and lows of the restaurant trade in north London; he was head chef at The Lord Stanley in Camden (“one of the best jobs I had in my life”).
The bakery is a few doors down the hill from this site, next door to Delicatessen – a thriving kosher restaurant that opened last year.
Pop-up restaurants are often highly improvised but exciting affairs.
At Perreh, the chef and his team have to wait until the bakery staff pack up before rushing to prepare for evening service.
The menu is brief and tempting, fusing influences from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and beyond.
We start with baba ganoush with an Asian twist, drizzled with an intense tamarind and date sauce. A scattering of Thai basil leaves takes this familiar dish in a new direction.
We scoop up the smokey puree with sourdough pitta bread, made by a friend of the chef and served with dinky dips of tahini, harissa and preserved lemon.
Later, we share a fine fillet of line-caught sea bass on a bed of rather crunchy fennel with subtle flavours from melted anchovies, tomato and Moroccan black olives.
This is elegant, delicious cooking.
Starters hover around £10 and mains – including lamb fillet and a freekeh risotto – between £16-23.
This two-week venture is designed to test the water before a possible bigger launch in the future.
“There was no intention of becoming millionaires or launching an amazing massive chain of restaurants,” says Lavi.
Instead he harbours ambitions of running his own “small and humbler” place one day with around 40 seats. I highly rated the cooking, which sparkles with excellent ingredients sourced from local suppliers such as The Hampstead Butcher and Wild County Organics, which trades at local farmers’ markets.
An Israeli side salad is a case in point: slivers of homegrown tomato and crunchy cucumber glistening in the very best olive oil and lifted by a hit of marjoram.
My companion for dinner could only eat gluten-free dishes, so she suggests adding more carbohydrates options. The price of wine is also a bit steep. There’s one white and red by the glass, with the sauvignon blanc costing £9 for £175ml.
Perreh is a fleeting phenomenon – catch it before Sunday if you’re sorely tempted.
Perreh @ Roni’s Bagel Bakery
44 Rosslyn Hill, NW3, 07399 817 665
Dinner seven days a week 7.30-11pm