Today I’m in the middle of all the action in Soho and I’m also being transported somewhere way more exotic. The choice in London’s restaurantland is mind-boggling and we’re heading for The Palomar to sample what they describe as the food of modern-day Jerusalem.
It’s a small restaurant with a sixteen-seater bar up front for walk-ins and a 40-seater space at the back with banquette seating and light flooding in through the large skylight.
Having never visited Jerusalem, I had no idea what to expect. On perusal of the menu I also spotted a lot of North African, Turkish and even Spanish influences. And all the dishes are designed for sharing, my favourite way to eat.
The menu is divided into unusually titled sections. First up, Rip and Dip. The Kubaneh is a little loaf of Yemeni pot bread which is served with tahini and velvet tomatoes. The perfect description for a wonderful dip – tomatoes with the texture of velvet. The warm, soft bread was tipped out of its little pan onto the board in front of us and easy to tear into bite-size morsels by hand. From this section we also ordered the burnt courgette tzatziki, mint, garlic, sumac, olive oil, lemon and almonds, a beautifully zesty combo.
Next up time for some Raw, Cured, Chopped. A delectable selection of fish and meat choices.
The beef tataki came Damaskus Gate style on a miniature piece of crispy Jerusalem bagel with tahini and spicy tomato to lift it. Lovely tender beef with subtle spicy undertones.
On to Stove, Josper, Plancha (loving these exotic sections).
The Shakshukit is described as deconstructed kebab with minced beef and lamb, yogurt tahini, cured lemon and harissa. A pan of delightfully spiced mince drizzled with a tasty choice of sauces.
And then there’s the Bit on the Side – never has a vegetable section sounded so tempting. The polenta Jerusalem style was served with asparagus, mushroom ragout, parmesan and truffle oil. Aromas of truffle drifted upwards from the wonderfully soft and creamy polenta. A truly stunning dish that you simply have to order.
I loved The Palomar. The menu is certainly unique and I’d happily try everything on it. The service is warm and welcoming and it has a cosy, intimate feel. If you’re sitting at the bar you’ll have a great view of all the kitchen activity – and there’s a lot of magical dishes coming out of that kitchen.
Today’s price point
Lunch for two cost £42.80
A bottle of French Rose was £26
The Palomar is at 34 Rupert Street, W1. Piccadilly Circus is the closest tube station.