Dish of the Week: Sharbat’s honey cake

Media Credit: Diego Mendoza | Staff Photographer

Sharbat's medovik, or honey cake, consists of multiple layers of crepe-like pastry stacked atop each other with honey and whipped cream sandwiched in between.

For a grab-and-go treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, try one of the many Azerbaijani pastries, cakes and coffees at Sharbat in Adams Morgan.

Located at 2473 18th St. NW, the bakery and cafe is one of the area’s newest additions, and if it weren’t for the pandemic, you could walk over to nightlife hubs like Songbyrd Cafe and Madam’s Organ bar next door. Take an Uber or the Circulator, which would drop you off just one block away from the establishment, to get there. 

The bakery occupies a building unit that once housed a frozen yogurt bar I tried out my freshman year, and Sharbat kept the same minimalistic vibe as the previous tenants. The walls are white, and the seats are decorated with colorful cushions and pillows.

Separated into two floors, the lower half of the bakery includes long tables and benches where customers can eat, chat or study, and the upper platform is fitted with a walk-up counter where you can place your order. Customers can also place orders for delivery or pickup due to the pandemic.

I wasn’t searching for a proper meal, but the dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, and the gurza, or dumplings with minced meat and yogurt, seemed like the best options for those seeking a full dish (both $18.10).

Sharbat also offers some smaller savory snacks. According to the baker, the most popular lunch pastry is Sharbat’s borek, or flaky phyllo-dough puff stuffed with spiced chicken ($6.69). Vegetarians should not worry – I was reassured that the goghal, or cumin- and anise-filled pastry, was equally crumbly and delicious ($3.29).

And for a quick caffeine boost or something to accompany your pastry, Sharbat’s baristas also have you covered with classic coffee drinks like a cappuccino ($3.60) or a mocha ($4.30). 

I was on a mission to find a dessert for a dinner party with my roommates, so I was solely focused on finding an indulgent and decadent cake to share with my friends. I ultimately opted for one of Azerbaijan’s typical desserts, medovik, or honey cake ($5.99 per slice). 

The layered cake looked very much like a stacked-crepe dessert, with whipped cream and gooey honey oozing in between 10 layers of delicate and airy dough. The whipped cream complemented the sticky honey, quelling some of the honey’s sweet flavor.

The layered cake was also topped with finely ground toasty nuts and warm spices, like cinnamon, similar to the garnish on the traditional Greek dessert baklava. The crepe-like cake, sweet and creamy filling and nut dusting came together to give the cake a sticky, chewy and crunchy texture all at once. 

If you have a more traditional palette when it comes to sweets, you might want to check out the chocolate cake, which is layered with chocolate creams and spreads ($6.49 per slice). My friend who had previously recommended Sharbat to me also said the raspberry cake ($6.49 per slice) was another solid option.

Head on over to Sharbat if you’re looking to explore a new type of handcrafted dessert at your next family dinner.

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