Welcome to an amazing restaurant in London. The Palomar brings Middle Eastern delight to us all. Think of the amazing Ottolenghi, now think of him making you dinner and finally add a vibrant city restaurant scene. If you haven't booked a table after that sentence, then I am not doing my job well.
The Palomar brings you modern day food from Jerusalem. This modern take on Israels capital, adds influences from Spain and North Africa to delight those in London. Based off Shaftesbury Avenue in the theater heartland, The Palomar and their 16 seater bar bring great interaction and even singing and partying to their guests.
The Palomar has been around for a while, so luckily I was able to get a table on a Friday night. The restaurant is still very popular with constantly good reviews on TripAdvisor but we got a space for two, albeit not at the bar and Laura and I went to explore this new London favourite.
I had done some research before venturing in and knew about all the lovely dishes and especially their famous Kubaneh bread. Besides this; I was a blank slate and went about deciphering the menu. The menu is relatively straight forward and the waiter recommended that we share our dishes (which we always do).
On the menu, they have five different sections and the recommendation is to choose a dish, at least, from each one. The sections are titled: Rip & Dip, Raw. Cured. Chopped, Stove. Josper. Plancha, The bit on the Side and Sweets.
Here is what we got from each section:
Rip & Dip: Kubaneh Yemeni pot baked bread served with tahini & velvet tomatoes
Raw. Cured. Chopped: Beef Tataki Damaskus gate style - crispy Jerusalem bagel, tahini & spicy tomatoes
Stove. Josper. Plancha: Octo-hummous josperised octopus, chickpea msabacha & burnt aubergine
Siske Pork Belly with Ras el Hanout, dried apricot, glazed carrot & celeriac cream
The bit on the side: Josperised Aubergine feta emulsion, tomato, fresh oregano, crispy shallots & pine nuts
Sweets: Jerusalem Mess labneh mousse, almond crumble, strawberries, lemon cream, elderflower, & apple jelly & fresh sorrel (for two)
The dishes do come as and when they are ready, but treat the first two dishes as the starters bread an Beef) and the later three (Pork belly, Aubergine and Octopus) as the mains.
An important element of The Palomar is the instruments they use to cook their food. What I mean by this, is their use of the Josper or Plancha. A Josper is a combination of a grill and oven in a single machine and its aim and use is for keeping in moisture and high temperatures. Think of it as an indoor barbecue.
The same also goes for the plancha, which again has its benefits over a barbecue in the sense that it reaches the desired temperature a lot quicker.
These two cooking machines and methods are used for the Octopus and Aubergine. These two dishes, especially the Aubergine were delightful. The aubergine was cooked and blended with a feta emulsion to give a creamy texture. The charred element of the aubergine gave the dish a warmth and bite that made you want more. With the crispy onions on top, this crunch was very welcome. A delightful, elegant dish, which at £7 is one I will go back for. For any Iranians out there, it is quite similar to Mirza Ghasemi.
The starter dishes, the bread and Beef tataki, were close to my favourite and least favourite of all the dishes we had. The aubergine, was my favourite and a close second was the bread. This Yemeni bread baked in a pot comes encased in its pot upside down. The waiter then came over, tipped the pot and unleashed this light, fluffy bread. As the title on the menu suggested, you just had to rip the bread and dip it into the accompanying dips of velvet tomatoes and tahini. OH YES. I wish the bread was with us throughout the whole meal as it could have been used to mop up all the juices from our many dishes.
The beef tataki was tasty but just did not stand out among the rest of the food. The raw beef was encased on a crispy shell of bagel (check out the pic above) and put into a bowl of tahini. Now, I do love tahini and the more of this the better, but this beef tataki was just okay and not that great. (SORRY). I think I could have ordered better. My bad.
The vibe, the ambiance, the food and the venue are all great. The final two dishes of Pork Belly Tagine and the Jerusalem Mess were delightful too. The Pork was cooked well and as a Tagine style dish, it is all about slow cooking. The glazed carrot and dry fruit were welcome friends to the pork and prevented the dish from becoming too samey.
The final Sweets, the Jerusalem Mess was a great surprise. The moose, the crumble and the sorrel were all so good. The crunch, the cold, the freshness and the sweetness most importantly made me absolutely stuffed.
I now know that even if i am not the first person to visit a place, that I still must go. The Palomar waited for me and I am glad it did. There was still an air of excitement and buzz at the restaurant which made it seem like the venue to be at in London. Although, it is not in the Time Out recent Top 10 restaurants in London, The Palomar is still a place to go.
The slight fusion, the flavours from the middle east and the dishes to match the buzz. The Palomar is a great addition to the London restaurant scene and gives you a new cuisine to explore and love. Thank you good people, I will see you soon. As always catch me on my blog- thanks Weebly