Sabich and falafel specialists Balady, who sling out some of the finest in the city from Temple Fortune in North London, have added to their growing Jewish-Moroccan cafe-restaurant and takeaway portfolio with a site at 39-41 Leather Lane in Clerkenwell. It opens for soft launch today, 11 October.
Oz Sabbo, one of three brothers who own Balady and sibling restaurant Balady Alaesh, teased an interior shot of the site in Instagram stories on Monday, 2 August, with the words “coming soon.” Central London can expect the arrival of some of the finest pita, sabich, hand-cut chips, and falafel in the city, as well as, if the two Temple Fortune locations are templates, specials which reflect the brothers’ heritage and the complex interactions of peoples that created both the food they serve and a cafe that writes its name in both Arabic and Hebrew.
It’s something of a flex from the brothers to move in on a street where the trade in falafel wraps — from both stalls and established restaurants like Dukan 41 and King of Falafel — is a leading lunchtime currency. In Eater London’s guide to London’s best-value restaurants, Jonathan Nunn writes: “If Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi had used all their powers to hone a sandwich, it would look like the cannonball of a sabich at Balady,” while Balady Alaesh — which uses meat where Balady does not — specialises in “jus-soaked arayes” which could “rival any London burger” and “hand-cut chips, capable of sparking homesickness for anyone born between Greece and Syria.”
Last summer, Sabbo told the Jewish Chronicle that he and his brothers saw it as their mission “try and lift the community with falafel during lockdown,” staying open for takeaway at both sites throughout 2020. They also recently opened a Balady in Lakewood, a large, predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in New Jersey, and now head for central London for the first time. If the first two cafes are anything to go by, they’ve got another hit on their hands.
Check back soon for a full photo story on the new Balady.