Launched in 2017 Bala Baya brings a day in the life of Tel Aviv to Bankside’s Union Street Arches. Bala Baya brings the raw creativity of Tel Aviv’s hip, all-day eateries to London. A sleek Bauhaus-inspired restaurant, this is the first stand-alone project from Israeli-born Chef Eran Tibi formerly of Ottolenghi, Made in Camden and the critically acclaimed Zest@JW3.
Eran, whose vibrantly progressive cuisine is rooted in his mother’s Middle Eastern home cooking and generations of baking expertise and the restaurant is a poem to Tel Aviv, its countless cultures meeting in the city’s buzzing, bustling street life. This atmosphere and aesthetic is reproduced in Bala Baya’s interior architecture and design by multi-award-winning designer, Afroditi Krassa, reflecting the particular Desert Bauhaus of the city – an urban, sun-drenched, modernist masterpiece.
A design-led project, the restaurant’s interiors have been carefully considered and perfectly planned to emulate Tel Aviv’s heady, sun-soaked early evenings. As the day cools, the palm shadows lengthen, and the city comes alive. Bala Baya imported traditional breeze blocks from Israel as well as plants from the region to recreate these dusk-lit shapes and dancing shadows. As the afternoon draws to a close and the light of the setting sun shines through the glass-fronted restaurant, the space will slowly transform to an evening setting.
Bala Baya’s Head Chef Eran Tibi is the epitome of modern Israeli cooking. Descended from a family of countless global origins and cuisines, every bite of Eran’s food reflects the ferocious energy and inventive spirit of his self-elected hometown, Tel Aviv.
Israeli-born Eran’s earliest memories comprise trimming okra tips with his mother from the minute he could hold a knife, and helping his father in the family bakery, building upon generations of baking expertise. Food wasn’t just part of the Tibi family’s daily routine, it was an all-encompassing way of life.
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Eran began his career in the UK working for four years at Ottolenghi under the tutelage of Sami Tamimi, enriching his knowledge of middle eastern cuisine. Rising quickly through the ranks, Eran departed to work with close friend Josh Katz (now of Berber & Q), to set up Made in Camden at the Roundhouse, named by AA Gill as one of his top restaurants in 2011.
More recently, Eran worked alongside Josh as part of the founding team at the acclaimed ZEST@JW3, rapidly gaining a loyal following and crowned by Giles Coren in 2013 as the best restaurant to open in North West London for a decade. Eran’s most recent accolade is being awarded the title of ‘Rising Star’ for his colourful Israeli-inspired cuisine in Tatler’s Restaurant Awards 2018!