Review of The Palomar - award winning modern Jerusalem cuisine
For the last year, whenever I’ve been asked to recommend a place to eat, my first answer normally is The Palomar. Located within London’s Chinatown, it’s an award winning restaurant serving modern Israeli cuisine. It’s so popular that you have to make a reservation two to three weeks ahead! Twice I’ve had to do that now. The concept at The Palomar, as with most restaurants in London now, is that everything is to share. Trust me when I say you’d be tempted to order everything on there. So it may be wise to go as a group so you can try out more dishes!
You’ll find dishes that show the flavours and influences of the Middle East, but with a twist. For example, one dish that must be tried is the Siske Pork Belly. You might be thinking why an Israeli restaurant would be serving pork dishes. But that’s what sets The Palomar apart – it’s catered for the London appetite, but still giving us authentic flavours.
On my recent visit to The Palomar, I decided to try out some old staples and some new dishes:
Kubaneh (£6.00) – this is a Yemeni style bread that’s baked inside a pot. The best way to describe it, is like a drier version of a brioche bun. It’s served with two dips - tahini and velvet tomato. Even if you’re trying to save stomach space by not having carbs, I’d suggest you order this so you can dip it into your other dishes!
Beetroot Carpaccio (£7.00) – thinly slices of soft beetroot, topped with burnt goat’s cheese, hazelnut brittle, lentil tuile and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I think this dish shows the amount of effort and passion that all the chefs behind The Palomar go to give us good food. Each small element that forms the Beetroot Carpaccio may not seem like much, but the preparation behind each and how it’s all then put together is really impressive. Take for example the lentil tuile – cooking the lentils, blending it all together into a paste, letting it dry, cutting it into shape, then deep frying – all just to add a little crispy texture to the dish. Can’t help but applaud!
Beef Tataki (£9.80) – slightly seared beef, served on a bed of toasted bagel and tahini, topped with a spicy dressing. This was an absolute joy to eat and really made my evening! I loved how tender the beef was, and the balance of spice cooled down by the tahini. The pieces of toasted bagel were probably too big in size for my liking, but I still liked the texture of it combined with the soft beef.
Ironed Chicken Thighs (£13.80) – this is another one for the spice lovers as it does really pack a punch! The chicken thighs were chunky and full of the flavours from the Middle East. Eaten together with the braised fennel, you’ve really got yourself into an explosion of flavours. Thankfully, the bed of yogurt helps to balance everything out. I think it’s a shame about the blanket of rocket though – it didn’t really add much to the dish and was hiding such a treasure!
The Beets Go Prawns (£14.00) – grilled prawns with smoked tender beetroots. The prawns were perfectly cooked and super tasty with the prawn jus. The smoked beetroots were unlike anything I’d eaten before and were a really interesting combination with the prawns. The added labneh also gave the dish a nice creamy texture. However, similar with the chicken thighs, there was a blanket of greens on top which in my opinion was a little excessive.
A Hot Date with Gem Lettuce (£7.50) – grilled gem lettuce with an Israeli twist. The gem lettuce were topped with chopped dates, a citrus vinaigrette, toasted almonds and ricotta salata (ricotta that’s been pressed, salted and dried). Not your average side dish at all! It was sweet, crunchy, tender and salty all at the same time. A perfect combination with all the other dishes I had.