Bavel: Modern Recipes Inspired by the Middle East

Ten Speed. May 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780399580925. $40. COOKING
Menashe and Gergis, chef-owners of the acclaimed L.A. Italian eatery Bestia, opened their second restaurant Bavel in 2018 with a focus on modern Middle Eastern flavors. Bavel’s menu draws from multiple sources of inspiration across the Middle East, including the chefs’ Israeli roots. With this collection, Menashe and Gergis, with the assistance of food and travel writer Suter, offer recipes for several homemade spice mixes used at Bavel. They explain that precise layering of spices is key to developing a dish’s best flavor. Readers will find easy recipes for falafel, shakshuka, and hummus, alongside more challenging restaurant-level dishes like mushroom tabbouleh. The salad chapter boasts vibrant flavor combinations and fresh takes on dressing, while the interpretations of Middle Eastern desserts are a delight for any home cook seeking innovative sweet recipes.
VERDICT Bavel, both the restaurant and the cookbook, offers a rich selection of Middle Eastern–inspired dishes featuring the chefs’ signature touch and a bright L.A. twist. Fans of the restaurant and home cooks looking for inventive flavors will want to take a look.
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