Going Down To Halaland With Moscoman & Salon
The distinctly Middle Eastern-flavoured Disco Halal imprint has become something of a hallmark for curious electronic gems that evoke Arabian nights, bringing a taste of the exotic to a dancefloor near you. As much a champion of his motherland’s cuisine as its musical heritage, label boss Moscoman prepares to serve up the label’s biggest London showcase to date, including a brunch party with Brixton’s Salon restaurant, after a chance meeting at Glastonbury. We sat down with Moscoman and Salon’s Nicholas Balfe to find out their fave haunts in each other's cities, and where techno and falafel cross paths…
Nicholas Balfe: We bonded over a shared love of Tel Aviv street food joints… I remember discussing Sabich On Frischman with you in a field in Somerset in 2017, both of us going a little misty-eyed in the process… I can picture it now; strolling back from Bugrashov beach, sun-kissed and washed out by the waves, those sabich sandwiches really hit the spot. The combination of fried aubergine, potato, soft boiled egg, pickles and tahini was a bit hard to get my head round at first, but when you see the thing itself, all loaded into a pitta so full you can barely get it into your mouth…. What was it like growing up with all this kind of food around? Do you have any early memories that stand out?
Moscoman: Oh man, so many memories relating to food which are resurfacing every day. I mean, I never really knew anything else. On the one hand, the food scene in Tel Aviv and Israel got better and more international, but the real Israeli food stays the same, and that’s what I like about it the most; the perfect old falafel spots are still there. By choice I don't eat meat anymore, but if I could, just next to my parents’ place there’s an unreal hotdog stand; the guy makes his own spicy sauce and his own mustard. You go there and get a “Commando”: three hotdogs in a baguette, filled with layers of tomato, cucumber and hard-boiled egg. Imagine that.
Shuk Shooka in the Carmel Market was another place we chatted about… It's like this little world within a world in there. The guy at the back, knocking up shakshookas on his rickety old hobs while the bossman chops salads to order whilst simultaneously pouring shooters of arak – one for you, one for himself. What a way to start the day! Have you found any places in London that rival Tel Aviv’s best breakfasts?
My fave spot to have breakfast in London now is Monty's Deli. I’m a sucker for Jewish delis anywhere in the world. Their egg & onion salad, the Latke, and the smoked fish platter is my dream for a perfect start of every morning. Shout out to Good Egg also that makes really cool Israeli fusion cuisine.
I'm a big fan of Falafel Ha'Kosem… The self-proclaimed Falafel Wizard, and rightly so! The falafel themselves are bright green with herbs and so fragrant. Great toppings, fluffy pittas, and a mean shawarma sandwich too. Is there a place that you think tops it?
Kaduri, In Hod' Ha'Sharon, just 20 minutes away from Tel Aviv, on a main road, next to a gas station in a little blue booth lies the best falafel in Israel, for me and for many others. A close second is the Johnny next to the Sabich, the Falafel in the Carmel Market, and The Ha'Kosem is a good favourite of mine also.
And it wouldn't be a Tel Aviv round up without mentioning one of Eyal Shani's places… Obviously Miznon is a staple, and vibes at Port Said are great, particularly on a balmy Tel Aviv summer night… But given we're just about to collaborate on a party, I guess Romano deserves a special mention. That sound system alone is worth the journey! Plus a fun menu of Middle East meets Mediterranean dishes, strong cocktails, excellent DJs… Someone needs to do that in London! Maybe that could be our next venture together? Which bars or venues have impressed you most in London?
I reckon that there aren't too many similar places like Shani's spots in London, I have to say that Salon was one of the first times I felt that kind of vibe; the service, the food and the atmosphere that reminded me of Tel Aviv. Campania, off Columbia Road, is another really nice food spot I like to eat in. Soundwise, Spiritland and Brilliant Corners are hitting the spot, but I guess there’s no one place that combines it all? Let’s do it!
Disco Halal's London Summer Party takes place at Bloc, Hackney Wick on Saturday 11th August. Click here for tickets and more info.