Addison Road now has an oasis in what was once a dining desert. Barzaari, which opened this week, is a tribute to the cuisines of the East Mediterranean. It serves a mixed menu of modernised Cypriot, Lebanese, Greek and Turkish food.
Andrew Jordanou and Darryl Martin are behind it. Martin is a former Quay chef and Jordanou has spent time in the front of house. They are influenced by Martin’s wife Gabby and Jordanou’s grandfather, both of whom are from Cyprus. Martin decided to open a vanue of his own during what he describes as “a lull” in his career. “I put a lot of work and effort into this,” he says.
The two friends are noticeably nervous about opening up their project to the world but they needn’t worry. Its achievement hinges on the balance between Cypriot traditions and innovation. The kitchen employs three old-school Cypriot tools: a rotisserie for marinated pork neck, lamb shoulder and sheftalia (a pork sausage wrapped in caul fat); a wood-fired oven for dukkah-coated prawns, oysters and fresh pita bread; and a pot filled with sand over a flame, for traditional Cypriot coffee roasting (done this way the coffee is roasted from the sides as well as from the bottom).
“I could turn up the intricacies on every dish 10 times, but sometimes you need to pull it back and just cook it,” Martin says. None of the dishes are overly complicated, but most have a flourish or twist that leaves no doubt as to Martin’s dedication and creativity.
Drinks follow a similar style. Sommelier Dennis Roman (Café Paci) mixes wines from Morocco, Romania and Lebanon with local naturals. The cocktails, designed by Finish star Tomi Bjorck, offer either Eastern Mediterranean flavours or straight-shooting classics.
Martin and Jordanou say the fit-out, like the name (Barzaari is a Cypriot market where Jordanou’s grandpa used to sell his farm-grown produce), is inspired by the old world. But it looks less like a market than it does a refitted warehouse with a few old-school touches and trinkets.