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How To Cook London’s Best Dishes: Feta And Honey Cheesecake

August 2019Words by Ms Heather Taylor

Photograph by Ms Heather Taylor

If harissa and tahini are as commonplace as salt and pepper in your arsenal of ingredients, this is thanks in no small part to Ms Sarit Packer and Mr Itamar Srulovich. The couple – who hail from Israel – are co-founders of Honey & Co, a tiny Fitzrovia café that’s been at the forefront of the surge in popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine in the UK since it opened seven years ago. “When you see za’atar for sale in Waitrose, you know things have changed,” says Ms Packer. “It’s definitely much easier to find Middle Eastern ingredients now, and there are some amazing new Middle Eastern restaurants, especially in London.”

Generous meze plates, hunks of pomegranate-flecked slow-cooked lamb shoulder and, especially, desserts rich with the heady flavours of orange blossom and rose, pistachio and sour cherries, have won Honey & Co a loyal following. These days, Ms Packer and Mr Srulovich juggle their time between publishing cookbooks and hosting a food podcast, as well as running a deli, Honey & Spice, and their second restaurant, Honey & Smoke. Opened in 2016, Honey & Smoke is a bigger, buzzier version of the original, with the focus on boldly-flavoured dishes – from octopus to celeriac – which arrive at the table smoking from the charcoal grill. “Honey & Co is so small, it’s like sitting in someone’s living room,” says Ms Packer. “There, we serve dishes that remind us of home – lots of meze, and all the tahini you could dream of. At Honey & Smoke, we have more of a grown-up, party vibe.”

At both restaurants, however, there’s a dish that diners keep coming back for: a creamy cheesecake made with a sharp hit of feta, served on top of golden, vermicelli-style nests of kadaif pastry, with honey syrup and seasonal fruit. “When Sarit first came up with the recipe, it was just one of the desserts,” says Mr Srulovich. “But it soon became our signature dish. We could never take it off the menu now – we have people who come across town just to get their cheesecake fix, so we knew it had to be part of the offering at Honey & Smoke when we opened, too.”