Chef Josh Katz is to open his first solo venture, a restaurant specialising in Middle Eastern and North African grills, in London's Haggerston, in February 2015.
Housed within a rustic railway arch, the 52-cover Berber & Q restaurant will meld influences from London, Marrakesh, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and New York, with dishes inspired by Katz's travels and his childhood growing up in North London, including the area's various falafel shops, Middle Eastern supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, and Israeli-style restaurants.
There will also be seasonally-changing dishes such as blackened aubergine with walnut and tahini; whole cauliflower with turmeric and lime butter; and glazed beetroot with date syrup and whipped feta. Desserts will be along the lines of rose Malabi (a milk-based pudding with rose water) and ice-cream pitta with banana and salted caramel.
The site will also make all its own sauces, such as a red chilli and green tahini.
Katz has previously worked at Bistrot de Luxe, Ottolenghi and Zest, and was formerly head chef at Made in Camden, in London Camden's Roundhouse.
Co-founder Mattia Bianchi also worked at Ottolenghi, and will take over front of house and the wine list, which will be limited to a selection of 20 bins, with a focus on small producers in Southern Italy, Spain, France, Morocco and Turkey.
There will also be a wide selection of home-created cocktails, including while beers from local breweries will be served on tap. Cocktail prices start at £7.50, a glass of wine at £3.50, and the most expensive main courses will be priced at the £8-9 mark.
In keeping with its weathered railway appearance, the interior décor will also feature corrugated metal sheets, a dark wood bar and an open kitchen, plus sharing tables made from railway sleepers and hung lights made form sheet metal.
Commenting on the new project, Katz said: "Cooking for me is all about simplicity, no fuss, no pomposity. I want Berber & Q to be fun and informal. They'll be a few dishes that you'll eat with your hands. The vibe is all about sharing good food, in a close setting with great friends."
Bianchi added: "Our passion for Middle Eastern and North African food is enormous. We live in London but we love the ‘lights down' buzzy dining culture of bars in New York. We want to bring the bits we love from all these cultures together."