Following on from a successful series of popups and supperclubs around London, English-Irish-Iraqi chef Phillip Juma has brought his take on contemporary Iraqi-cuisine, JUMA Kitchen, to The King & Co pub for the rest of October. That doesn’t give you very long to get over to Clapham Common for a spoonful of his knafa, so get organised. Phil’s Middle Eastern menu is running every night from 5pm, and there’s also a weekend brunch offering that promises to be rather special, if the chocolate, cardamom and walnut babka teaser on social media is anything to go by.
The menu eases you in with meze plates of humous, spiced baba ganoush, and falafel, served with some wonderfully light Iraqi tanoor bread that Phil picks up every day from a traditional bakery. But there are also less familiar plates of Kubba Hamuth (handmade lamb dumplings) and Kubba Haleb – turmeric-coloured cases of cracked rice hiding flavoursome lamb that’s best dipped in their mango pickle. Both should not be missed.
One of Phil’s signature plates, lamb filled dolma with lamb cutlets, is only available Friday-Sunday, but we were treated to the superb Saffron Chicken (with a tasty sauce requiring more tanoor bread for mopping) and a delicate serving of Masgouf – a whole butterflied sea bream marinated in a spiced, tamarind glaze. The star of the savoury show however was the “small” plate of Iraqi Cauliflower Biryani – a moreish bowl of safforon rice with roasted cauliflower, golden sultanas, purple potatoes and that soft egg yolk you can see below. Not bad for £6.50. Are you reading, London Cheap Eats?
To finish, it’s Knafa all round – a rich pot of baked cream and soft cheese topped with pistachios and shredded filo pastry. Orange blossom water and rose petals are present but not overpowering as is so often the case. It’s a great way to end a beautifully executed meal. The King & Co strikes gold again! I’ll be back for that babka…
JUMA Kitchen will be in residence at The King & Co until Sunday 30th October
100 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7BZ