Last week it was confirmed that purveyors of London’s best Reuben sandwich, Monty’s Deli, opened its second London outpost, replacing Rök in the restaurant and street food collective The Kitchens in Old Spitalfields Market.
Today, it was confirmed that JiaBa — a brand that serves traditional Taiwanese street food — will be joining Monty’s. JaiBa’s founder — Pokai Wan — says that it was because he missed his hometown’s cuisine so much that he decided to bring over their innovative cooking techniques and capture the distinctive flavours of his homeland, as well as share the renowned hospitality of his people. ‘Jia’ in Taiwanese dialect means ‘eat,’ but but also ‘home.’ ‘JiaBia’ is a daily greeting meaning “Have you eaten?” Wan’s dishes include braised beef noodle (£8.50) and Yansuji (£5) as well as desserts like Taiwanese tea jelly (£2). JiaBa replaces Bar Barbarian.
Meanwhile, Burmese brand Lahpet has acquired a new food stall in the market. Owners Dan Anton and head chef Zaw Mahesh — both with Burmese heritage — want to spotlight a comparatively untapped cuisine in London, presenting, in their words, “regional specialties with a hint of refinement and contemporary flare.” Dishes include coconut noodle with chicken; lemongrass fish chowder; pork and mustard green; aubergine curry; ginger salad; and a signature tea leaf salad (lahpet thohk), after which the place is named, that incorporates umami-rich pickled tea leaves into a multi-textured salad.
The final new tenant to be announced is Ahi Poke which has acquired a new permanent restaurant site in the market. Jeremy Coste, Gabriel Cohen-Elia and David Bellaiche’s bowls of Californian-inspired raw fish salad bowls. It is the brand’s third London site and joins other branches in Fitzrovia and Victoria. For Spitalfields, the founders have announced a limited-edition bowl: kale topped with marinated tofu, pickled ginger, kimchi cucumber, coconut roasted sweet potato, burnt corn, coriander and green tahini dressing.