Meat fest at Zest
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Meat fest at Zest

A new pop-up offers culinary treats while raising money for Syrian refugees

Louisa Walters is a features writer

Visitors to Zest at JW3 will already know how well this restaurant does Israeli and Middle Eastern cooking, albeit milky.

Well, now they have opened a meaty pop-up restaurant on site.

You can’t fail to spot the transparent dome in the piazza housing Taste of Syria, a novel initiative bringing together JW3 and World Jewish Relief (WJR) to support Syrian refugees. For every meal sold, £1 will go towards helping this cause.

For £17, you can feast on a main, assortment of sides and a dessert (£14 without dessert, and £12 if you just want one side with a main dish).

Place your order at the Zest counter and then step outside to walk into the clear plastic dome, which houses hessian-draped tables and chairs with coloured cushions.

There’s music playing and a really relaxed ambience. “We wanted to create a Bedouin tent-type of experience,” says Joshua Owens-Baigler, manager of Zest. “This is informal street food inspired by Syrian Jewish cooking.”

FullSizeRenderDishes include muhummara (hot peppers) marinated chicken wings and lamb ‘kefta’ in a laffa, a large flatbread wrap. Saffron and orange marinated chicken with Aleppo peppers also comes in a laffa and there is a vegetarian option of aubergine dumplings with shredded cabbage and zhoug in pitta.

Kale salad with sweet almonds, fattoush salad, sweet and spicy peppers (pictured) and sweet potato fries sit on the side, and dessert is a creamy chocolate and coconut confection.

There is also complimentary cardamom coffee and mint tea. It’s all wonderfully tasty and a refreshingly different experience.

Rafi Cooper of WJR, says: “It’s a pleasure to partner with Zest at JW3 to combine its first meat restaurant with the ability to support our crucial refugee work for people fleeing the war in Syria.”

  • Taste of Syria is at JW3 until 9 April. No bookings. Open Mondays to Thursdays, 5pm to 10pm and Sundays, 12pm to 10pm. Zest is open as normal.

Details: jw3.org.uk/taste-syria

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