The Palomar brings a taste of the Levant to London
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : International
Address : 34 Rupert St, Soho, London, W1D 6DN, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.thepalomar.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Sat 12pm-2.30pm & 5.30pm–12.00am
Closest Tube : Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square
William Blake, born in Soho, famously wrote that he shall not cease his mental fight ‘Till we have built Jerusalem / In England‘s green and pleasant land‘. Well, it looks like he can finally rest easy with The Palomar opening on Rupert Street. Layo and Zoe Paskin, the siblings behind AKA and The End nightclubs, have partnered with the team behind Jerusalem‘s hottest restaurant, Machneyuda, to bring a taste of the Levant to London. The design brings to mind some of the other popular restaurants in the neighbourhood with its worn-with-love Art Deco aesthetic, most notably J Sheekey, however the carmine colour palette has been switched out for a royal blue. Otherwise, there‘s a 16 cover raw bar in the entrance, hexagonal mosaic tile flooring, and enough smok and mirrors to make you feel as if you‘re in a magic show. The food is very good indeed - primarily Israeli but with influences from Spain, Italy and North Africa. Light, sesame seed studded bread named kubaneh is brought to the table accompanied by a tahini and a tomato dip; both were revelatory. We were additionally brought a pewter pale of spiced olives with a rather large silver scoop to place them on your plate. Accompanying these small dishes with a spicy but sprightly bloody mary and The Palomar‘s signature tequila cocktail was a great introduction to the meal (and the beginning of the afternoon!). From here, the table became contested ground as each dish vied for tastebud supremacy, alongside an excellent carafe of pinot noir. Kubania, an Israeli beef tartar, was buoyant and flavourful, opting for the flavours of tahini over horseradish and Worcestershire. A miniature mason jar was filled with Jerusalem-style polenta, a rich amalgam of asparagus, mushroom ragout, parmesan and truffle. Shakshukit deconstructs the kebab into its constituent ingredients, while a pork belly tajine splices North Africa with Israel and Europe, with Ras El Hanout, dried apricots and Israeli couscous. Kurdish mussels on the menu made us question ancient Kurdistan‘s geography, but on the plate we weren‘t questioning anything. They were light and delicious, served with fennel, courgettes, swiss chard, Arak and lemon butter. A dessert of chocolate cremeux with puffed rice crunch, pomegranate coulis, cocoa tuile and almond streusel was eminently indulgent, especially when coupled with a glass of Somerset cider brandy. Outside of Ottolenghi, it‘s good to see others bringing Israel‘s delicacies to London. And surely Blake is finally resting easy over in Bunhill Fields.