500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 5/18/18
Bavel is Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ follow-up restaurant to the wildly successful Bestia. Located just a few blocks away from Bestia, the restaurant provides another option for downtown Arts District diners. The food here is Middle Eastern, reflecting Menashe’s heritage. I haven’t had a ton of exposure to the cuisine, but figured I was in great hands given my love of the food at Bestia.
SCALLOP CRUDO pomegranate molasses, citrus, burnt serrano chile oil, charred cucumber, mint, black sesame
DUCK ‘NDUJA HUMMUS creamy garbanzo beans, jerusalem mix spice, herbs, pita
MALAWACH ancient grain crispy layered bread, grated tomato, dill crème fraiche, soft boiled egg, strawberry zhoug
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER hawaij chile sauce, crème fraiche serrano dip, pistachios, dried flowers
GRILLED PRAWNS harissa marinade, eggplant tzatziki, herbs, lime
GRILLED LAMB SADDLE CHOP licorice, lime, honey, borage vinaigrette, herb salad
SLOW ROASTED LAMB NECK SHAWARMA crème fraiche tahini, fermented cabbage, pickled turnips, laffa
LICORICE ICE CREAM BON BON sour licorice caramel, muscovado cake, caramelized white chocolate, maldon
CARDAMOM APPLE PRUNE CAKE date toffee sauce, cream
The meal was excellent. The hummus was definitely a highlight – the puree was warm, creamy and really picked up the bold, spicy ‘nduja flavors beautifully. And the pita, warm and pillowy, was the perfect vehicle to eat this with. I’ve never had pita like that before. The scallop crudo was bright and vibrant – the pomegranate, citrus and cucumber complemented the sweet shellfish. Grilled prawns were delicious with a nice smoky char, as was the juicy grilled saddle chop. And the lamb neck shawarma, reminiscent of a similar dish at Bestia, didn’t disappoint. It had plenty of rich meat hidden among pockets of bone, with a warm laffa bread. If anything disappointed, it was the desserts – the flavor profiles just didn’t gel with my palate. I will definitely return here.