Financial Times Magazine (November 12, 2005)
What a spread
There are restaurants that specialise in fish, others in meat, but few where the humble chick pea is the main player. Hummus Bros in London's Soho, which bills itself as "the UK's first hummus bar", sells more than 60kg of the tasty dip each day. The Middle Eastern spread of chick peas puréed with sesame paste (tahini), garlic and lemon juice forms the basis to the most of the menu in this eatery, popular with a young, alternative crowd. Although billed as a bar, no alcohol is on sale.
Hummus Bros has communal bench tables, smart minimalist décor and background music ranging from techno to reggae. Around the Mediterranean, hummus is served as an entrée eaten with bread, but here it is served topped with various hot or cold meat or vegetable stews.
There are accompaniments of pickled vegetables as colourful as traffic lights; smoky barbecued aubergines and mouth freshening, parsley-rich tabouleh. The menu is kept simple: besides the daily special, there are just four toppings, including fava beans or chick peas served with a boiled egg. The free range eggs are boiled for eight hours "to allow the calcium from the shells to be absorbed into the egg", says Chistian Mouysset, the twentysomething Frenchman who, with his business partner Ronen Givon, studied economics at Cambridge where the idea for their venture was born.
I chose the sweet potato soup followed by hummus with a flavoursome stew of mushroom and coriander. My meal cost £5.50, and unlike many fast-food joints, diners who eat in are given a proper plate, albeit a wooden fork (which is recycled).
Afterwards, as I was browsing the newspapers, the waitress delivered a complimentary glass of mint tea to my table. Others were drinking the leafy brew. I asked if this were a regular feature. "When it happens, it happens," she smiled.
Hummus Bros, 88 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TJ (020 7734 1311)
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