I can’t really remember the first time I tried hummus. It must have been some time at school when one of my friends brought in a lunchbox with pitta and a small pot of the stuff. I turned my nose up at it and thought it was some kind of weird health fad made from some kind of foreign substance that you could only buy in Waitrose. I obviously wasn’t very aware of dips in my middle teens. Now, since progressing through three years of university, starting my first ‘real’ job, moving out of my parents homes and being in charge of buying my own food, it has become a staple part of my diet. 3 of 7 meals I have each night of the week involve the stuff (along with taramasalata, salad, cheap lumpfish caviar and pita bread) and i’m always keen to try the new varieties hitting the shelves – the sweet chilli hummus from Tesco is a total game changer in the chickpea world, and even M&S’s Beetroot & Mint hummus is one to stand up and pay attention to.
But the true Hummus Kings of London are without doubt the two friends who opened the first of four fantastic restaurants specialising in this absolute favourite of mine back in 2005: The Hummus Bros.
They have four restaurants; Soho, Exmouth Market, St Paul’s & Holborn, each with minimal decoration and sharing tables. The menu is well priced for lunch during the week, but increases slightly for evenings and weekends. There’s something for everyone (assuming you like hummus, of course) with a selection of warm vegetarian and meat toppings which go on top of the creamy base.
These guys have a secret recipe for their hummus, which gives it that perfect combination of texture and taste and as well as your choice of topping, comes with a puffed up floured pitta bread,with prices starting from £4.90. The best of the toppings for me are the chicken sauteed in a light tomato sauce and the seasonal slow cooked stew of chunky beef which is tender and rich. The portions are served in either a small (one pitta) or a regular (two pittas) size, but don’t be fooled, a small portion is more than enough, and a regular is perfect for two to share.
You can order extras too if you want; eggs, jalapanos, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped onions to name but a few, all around the 95p mark, and there are plenty of side dished available too. There is also a decent drinks menu, and nothing complements the flavours of the hummus better than their mint and ginger lemonade which is fresh, sweet and tart, making you suck your cheeks in with every delicious sip! The value for money in this restaurant is fantastic, the offering is healthy and varied and the service is polite and helpful, but what’s better is there is no other restaurant like this in London; nowhere else seems to understand just how great a meal of pitta and hummus can be, but these guys really do.