Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hummus Brothers - Holborn/Bloomsbury (Southampton Row)

HiYa!!! Sorry, I was watching Bruce Lee clips on YouTube, unfortunately I don't have a pair of nunchucks to hand to pretend I'm him whilt the end of them bounces of my tummy and whacks me in the nose!

Moving forward, I actually fancied going to a Spanish deli nearby called Don Quixote, but after a heavy fry up at UCL hospital at Euston, I couldn't be bothered to waddle too far so the Mexican beef special sign outside Hummus Bros seemed appropriate enough.

The story of Hummus Brothers starts with a couple of students who were bored with their much loved junk food and found a local hummus serving deli from which they developed the idea to add toppings. Or perhaps in the words of the deli owner "that was my idea" as my father would say everytime someone makes something he wishes he had thought of and makes himself believe it was his idea first! It's funny now but it gets boring on a daily basis.

But no idea is completely original but luckily for us lot, where else in London are we easily going to find a heart hummus lunch? So much so that even David Schwimmer announced on BBC Radio London that it was one of his favourite places to eat in London. I wonder if he goes alone or with 'friends'? Who cares if that's a lame joke, you thought of it too!

Located on the Southampton Row just around the corner from the office, Hummus Bros is glass paned at the the front and modern with attempts of rustic furnishings with huge Greek style pots by the counter. I decided to take it back to the office because the few downstairs seats were taken and the stairs to the next floor were narrowly spiralled round a fireman's pole that I feared I would be stuck on the first twirl.

The service is very friendly, very fast and there is also a loyalty card option for the regulars.

So back to the office to unveil the goods....

Each dish comes in the same basic format, a big scoop of hummus (or homous) layered around the whole bowl with a nice big gaping whole for the toppings. The Mexican beef special (£4.60/£5.80) consists of minced beef in a dark tomato based sauce with a hint of spics and chilli, topped with grated cheddar cheese, cracked nachos and a side sprinkle of chilli powder.

As a whole a very filling and tasty dish but the not the most developed in flavour. The hummus however is very good, rich, slightly earthy or perhaps nutty but quite smooth. All dishes come with warm wholemeal pitta bread, 2 portions for the large and 1 portion for the small which effects the price by roughly a pound. I would also recommend the chunky beef as I believe the Mexican one is not always available.

As a side order (which is not necessary due to the hummus being quite filling) I chose the smoky barbequed aubergine (£3.00) which was very peculiar indeed. The aubergine was roughly mashed and somewhat put back together in a gratin kind of way, I would think whole aubergines would have been more appealing. It is served as a cold dish which I enjoyed at first, the smoky barbeque flavour was intriguing as well as the texture of the half mashed aubergine. However I was not completely pleased with the cold aspect and the plain but slightly sour dressing interfered with the smoky flavours. So I childishly stomped my way downstairs to the kitchen at the inconvenience of having to microwave it for 2 minutes. I then and huffed and puffed as the hot version which brought out a sickly sweet yet sour taste. So keep it cold but I would like to try and find a better side to recommend.

Oh and that thing sticking out there is not a marinated Jerusalem artichoke heat (sad face) or a pan tossed mushroom, but the end of an aubergine!

As an added (and I think free) option to your meal is a tub of lemon juice or garlic chilli paste. The lemon sauce I don't believe is a satisfying extra due it's sickly artifical taste, apparently it's all the rage for other hummus places so by all means try it for yourself. The garlic chilli paste is more appealing but again doesn't work to my tastes.

I didn't seem to keen to try the dessert options so I went for the one thing that can never fail mankind...drum roll please....The Cadbury's Creme Egg!!! At least until it becomes a Kraft Egg with the picture of an unimaginably happy cow from the Milka packaging which bears no resemblence to an egg whatsoever. This was not supplied by Hummus Bros but the little newsagents across the road.

I think the Creme Egg deserves a review right? Ok fine, you all know this is the king of choccies and with supermarkets bringing out easter chocs 3 months early, enjoy! It reminds me of when I was a young oompa loompa built child and used to think the giant Easter eggs were filled with the famous white and yellow 'creme'.


Overall, a really inventive and interesting change to a quick lunch for the office prisoners or the lucky passers by on a day off. Although they offer larger portions later on in the evening for a few pounds extra, I wouldn't recommend this as a friends night out type of place especially with very limited seating.

At about £5.00-8.00 a head it's cheap, different and filling. Plus they have free wi-fi and coffee for 50p during certain hours.


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