photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Finding a foolproof pick-me-up method isn’t easy. Maybe you read your old school reports and count the gold stars. Maybe you get online and spunk fifty quid on another very necessary summer jacket. Or, maybe, you put on some trainers, cue up Eye Of The Tiger, and go running for 0.1km. Whatever your method, bin it. And pay a visit to Nandine instead.
Nandine is a cafe and restaurant that serves Kurdish inspired food from one long and tastefully Ikea-ish room in Camberwell. It’s a family-run restaurant and that’s probably why its priority is in making you feel good. Through a chat at the till. Through a bit of baklava as you struggle through a deadline. And, most obviously, through all the food coming out of the kitchen.
The menu is full of the kind of stuff that makes you go all lovey dovey for fresh and excellent ingredients. It ranges from mezze to sujuk burgers, to a seven spice shawarma for brunch. The mezze bowls - meat, vegetarian, and vegan - all feature no less than ten component parts, and these are what you should be coming here, and coming back here, for. Not just because they’re a steal at under a tenner, but because the aubergine is never not addictively smoky, the kubba never not meaty, and the lentil falafels never not crunchy. It is a consistently fulfilling combination of things, like jet lag and clean sheets, or dogs tongues and car windows.
This place isn’t a one trick pony though. The brunch options - welcomely available midweek - are different takes on familiar midday dishes. Eggy bread becomes dates, and it’s a gloriously sticky mess of tar-like black syrup, walnuts, flatbread and of course, eggs. Whether you’re feeling low, or suffering from a sugar low, this’ll definitely sort you out. Their fries too, mixed in beharat spices and covered in yoghurt, tamarind sauce, mint, and pomegranate, are the kind of thing that can eat alone, with a friend, or ordered to your door at any time of day.
Eat at Nandine regularly enough and you’ll soon find yourself appreciating every grain grown and every plant potted, almost as much as every bit of coriander hummus you wipe clean from your bowl here on a bi-weekly basis. Whether you’re popping in here for freshly baked borek, primo baklava, or having a mezze dinner, the feeling is always the same. It’s kind of like coming home after a long time. It makes you feel good.
You’ll be getting something along the lines of: smoky aubergine, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), kubba (rice and meat patty), lime and coriander hummus, walnut and pomegranate paste, salad, and naan bread. It might change. It might not. It’s always delicious.
Out with kubba and in with the falafels. If push came to shove, we’d probably say we prefer the vegetarian option.
An extremely sticky situation, but not like when you were on TV at Glastonbury whilst at home ‘ill’. Layered in Kurdish black syrup and with a handful of walnuts thrown in, this is eggy bread 2.0.
A thin and crisp flatbread stuffed with spinach and covered in spring onion, mint, and syrup. It’s sweet, it’s savoury, it’s daylight robbery at £5.50.
Nothing makes you feel good like eating fried things that are vegetables. These fritters are light, tasty, and come with a yoghurt and dill dip.
As soon as we ate these we decided we were going to shamelessly bastardise and steal the idea for ourselves at home. There’s nothing like putting some spices, yoghurt, and pomegranate on top of fried potato to make you feel good. If these ones were thicker, skin-on type fries, then they’d be the best in the city.