The Palomar is one of the hippest new restaurants in Soho and has been high on my to-go-to list ever since it opened in June this year. It is run by two Israeli-born nightclub entrepreneurs and serves the food of modern day Jerusalem. They say their menu is influenced by the cultures of Spain, North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean.
The Palomar is a pretty small bar-restaurant with a hip but intimate vibe. As soon as you walk in you are confronted one, by the very welcoming wait staff and two, you can’t miss the long 16 seat bar/kitchen that overlooks the chefs preparing the food. The dining room at the back of the room can seat up to 40 people and the Palomar takes bookings, which is always a huge winner in my books!
So I went to The Palomar recently with a friend before going to the theatre (yes, they take a 5.30pm pre-theatre booking at the bar, whoop!) The menu is based on small dishes made for sharing which suited us perfectly.
We started off with some spiced olives (£3) and their ‘Yemeni-style’ Kubaneh bread (£5), which is a yeast baked bread in a tin. It’s tipped out in front of you while still piping hot, so you can then tear it into bite sized pieces to drunk into the rich tahini and tomato dips. A bit brioche-like in texture, absolutely delicious!
Next up we chose two items from the Raw Bar – confusingly, the dishes aren’t all raw, but are served cold; the Salmon Tartare (£8.5) with aubergine 2 ways. yoghurt, pine nuts & parsley and the Fattoush salad (£8) with tomato, cucumber, za’atar, sumac, pita croutons & homemade labneh. The Salmon Tartare was incredible and looked so pretty! I love raw salmon and the soft smokey aubergine puree went with it perfectly. The Fattoush salad was simple but tasty.
Following this we had two picks from the Stove part of the menu; the Seared scallops (£12.5) with cured lemon beurre blanc, swiss chard easy over, Jerusalem artichoke & hazelnut tuille and the Pork belly Tajine (£14) with Ras el Hanout, dried apricots & Israeli couscous.
Both huge hits in our books. The scallops were soft and that hazelnut tuille, yum! The pork belly tajine was rich, sweet, sticky and spicy all at once and was a pretty decent sized dish as it came with lots of flavourful fluffy couscous.
Because we were seated at the bar we saw the chefs preparing a lot of the food (while chatting to us in the meantime) and some of the other dishes on the menu, like the Shakshukit (deconstructed kebab with minced meat, yoghurt & tahini) and the Labenah tortellini with butternut squash cream, tomatoes, confit garlic & mange tout looked delicious too. Oh well, for us (or you) to try next time!
We were actually quite happily full at this point but decided we couldn’t resist dessert. After a bit of a discussion with the chef’s on recommendations we decided on the Malabi Rose-scented milk pudding (£7) raspberry coulis, coconut meringue pistachio crunch, fresh raspberries & kataifi and the Chocolate Cremeux (£7) Puffed rice crunch, pomegranate coulis, cocoa tuile & almond streusel.
And WOW, both of these were absolutely insane. I have to admit that the rose-scented milk pudding wasn’t sounding like a winner to me initially but with the crunchy topping and the fresh berries it was soft and refreshing and not to overpowering on the rose flavour. The chocolate dessert however sounded like a true champion from the start and didn’t fail to impress! It was a true melt-in-your-mouth chocolate pudding and one of the best desserts I’ve enjoyed in a little while.
All together we had a great evening at The Palomar. The staff was all very friendly, helpful and fun and seem to have a real passion for what they do. The food was delicious, of a very high standard and culinarily exciting. Plus I think it was good value for money because the sharing plates were of a decent size and after enjoying all these dishes we were actually super-duper full, but happy I must add. Think this is one new restaurant in London you will just have to try. NOPI (by Ottolenghi) has always been a huge favourite in my books for Soho, but would have to say the Palomar is now topping very high in that list too.
34 Rupert Street,
W1D 6DN, London
Phone: 020 7439 8777