Search

Zala, Camden Market: Lush market meze is a bargain to boot

PUBLISHED: 14:33 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:33 19 September 2017

Meze at Zala in Camden Market

Meze at Zala in Camden Market

zALA

Emma Bartholomew tries out meze and kebabs at Zala, which happily survived the blaze in Camden Market

Chef Tomer Niv Chef Tomer Niv

Zala in Camden Market was founded by Alon Shamir and his brother-in-law Tomer Niv, who is apparently one of Israel’s most innovative cooks.

He was former head chef at Jerusalem’s R’amas Kitchen – which was tragically destroyed in a fire last year.

I was alarmed Zala had suffered the same fate when a day after we dined there I heard the shocking news that the historic stables market nearby had been destroyed in a huge blaze.

Happily Zala is still standing.

It’s styled like a grey wooden beach hut and sits alongside the canal with an alfresco take-away bar and open kitchen where they cook lahmacun “Levantine pizzas” in a wood-burning oven.

We began our feast with dips of a sweet caramelised onion hummus, a bitter tahini with herbs, slow cooked tomato matbucha, roasted peppers with garlic hot sauce and pita bread roasted with za’atar oil to mop them all up with.

For such exquisite and fresh food it’s really a surprising bargain at £6 - just like the rest of the menu here. Alon told us they’re still keeping their profit margin but just not “going crazy like some others”, so as not to put some people off from coming in.

A big plate of crispy calamari with soft rosemary potatoes infused with a lemony tasting “amba” yogurt sauce made from mangoes is just £6.50. A summer salad with fennel, grapes and oranges is £5.50, and flame roasted aubergines sweetened with raspberries, pomegranate, parsley and tahini are £5. The “small plates” are actually quite big, and we didn’t have much room for main course, but Tomer insisted we try the kebabs.

Served on a bed of rosemary, they range from £2.50 for the vegetarian option, £5 for chicken breast softened in grape juice, and £6.50 for rib eye marinated in honey and dates.

My only disappointment was they’d run out of the levantine milk pudding infused with rose water. that I’d had my eye on for dessert.

In Israeli there’s a word “élan” which means “food you want to instantly devour”. I got that feeling from all the food at Zala, and was still dreaming of it in the days following our visit.

Latest Hackney Stories

just now

Which one of these four players is England’s greatest right midfielder of all time?

Yesterday, 18:27

An unbeaten half-century from James Harris saw visitors Middlesex complete an outstanding recovery to beat Leicestershire by one wicket in a marvellously tense finish to their Specsavers Division Two county championship match at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Yesterday, 17:28

Belgium and Tunisia have met on three previous occasions in all competitions, with a win apiece and a draw. The encounters have been tight affairs, with victories decided by one-goal margins, but today’s match didn’t follow the same trend.

Yesterday, 12:00

Gareth Southgate’s promising young England side look ready to make a mark on the world stage and help atone for the disappointments of recent tournaments.

Yesterday, 08:30

The drama surrounding the threat to Gillett Square continues apace with over 1,500 new signatories in the past month to the Change.org petition to Save Gillett Square, writes Adam Hart FRSA, chief executive officer Hackney Co-operative Developments (HCD) 1996-2012, co-director Vortex Foundation, resident and parent for over 35 years.

The temperature nudged the mercury towards nearly 30c as the man sat down on a bench, sited between Grace Road’s evocative pavilion and the sight screen.

Middlesex ended day three of their County Championship match at Grace Road on 82-3, 299 runs adrift with only seven wickets remaining.

Fri, 16:33

Brazil and Costa Rica were winless in their opening matches at the World Cup and were both hoping for their first victory of the tournament at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.



Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists