Review of 'The Palomar'

After reading that Michel Roux Jr. loves visiting “The Palomar”, a small restaurant selling food from “modern Jerusalem” in Soho, it has been on my “must visit” list. The tiny restaurant is fairly difficult to get into with reservations pretty much required despite saying on their site that they hold back walk in seats – We tried previously to visit without a reservation by showing up just after they opened at 5:30 pm only to be told there were no walk-in seats. Learning from this experience we booked our recent visit in advance.

Back Seating

Place Setting

The small restaurant has a bar seating area at the front with food prepared in front of you then at the back there is a small seating area with perhaps 12 or 13 tables. The ambiance is modern simple, comfort feeling very much like you are in a friendly diner with the noise levels quite high when full, which it often is. A skylight at the back lets in a bit more light to the fairly dim interior though oddly looks into the rooms of a flat above the restaurant…

Skylight

The drinks menu, on a single A4 page, consists of “Cocktails”, “Soft” (not your normal soft-drinks these are “mocktails”) and “Beers” along with a touching small note at the bottom of the page containing the names of the staff. From the “Soft” section I picked the “Safi” (“fresh grapefruit, cranberry, lemon, fever tree lemonade”; £7) which was nicely tangy while my companion tried the “Palomar Iced Tea” (“apple, cinnamon & turmeric tea, grapefruit, honey”; £7) which she found soothing. Both were quite refreshing.

The food menu, on another single A4 page opposite the drinks page, is simple divided as it is into “Rip & Dip” then sectioned into fish, meat and vegetable mains. Our server described a general approach of going for a couple different breads and dips from the “Rip & Dip” section then select several options from the mains. Dutifully schooled we started with “Kubaneh Bread” (with “Tomato, tahini”; £7.50) and “Pitas” (“Josperised” – meaning “cooked in the grill-cum-oven Josper” – “with love”; £3.20) with a side dip of “Harissa Chickpeas” (“Aubergine, cured lemon buckwheat”; £6.50).

Breads

The “kubaneh” bread arrived somewhat dramatically in a pot which was removed by our server. A light, brioche-style bread it melted in the mouth and went very well with the tomato and tahini dips provided. The pitas were a contrast and unlike any I have ever seen before - Small English muffin (or hockey puck, if you like) sized fluffy pita discs. Their mild flavour worked well with the similarly mild “Harissa Chickpeas” dip served in a small round dish on the side. All of this deliciousness was consumed quite quickly.

Metugan Bream

We had ordered a main each though in retrospect it seems that other diners had picked several mains to share. My companion had the “Metugan Bream” (with “Israeli kimchi, green harissa”; £25.50) which was delivered whole to the table curled in on it's tail. Our server took the majority of the bones out for us but there were a few to be found as she ate the dish. We had been told the “Israeli kimchi” was mild, contrasting to the typically spicy Korean kimchi dish, but my companion found it a bit spicy overwhelming the flavour of the fish though quite fresh. Even the spicy harissa overpowered the flavours with not a huge flavour of sumac coming through.

Jospherised Aubergine

When ordering my main I dithered between the fairly normal sounding “Green Harissa Chicken” (with “Freekeh, za'atar, fennel, parsley”; £23.00) and the more interesting “Josperised Aubergine” (with “white miso tahini, date molasses, almonds”; £13.50). At the last minute I settled for the aubergine and was glad I did with a deliciously silky flesh and a slight peanut butter flavour from the miso tahini. The only complaint I might have was that the portion was not huge.

Looking from Back Towards Front

We were convinced by our friendly server to have a look at the small dessert menu with three choices for desserts and two cocktail choices.

Sumac Tart

My companion chose the “Sumac & Lemon Tart” (“orange blossom mousse, almonds”; £8.50) which tasted for all the world like a lemon meringue pie minus, of course, the meringue. The sumac flavour again here was subtle if pretty much non-existent but she was certainly happy.

Coconut Mollab

I decided on the “Malabi” (“coconut, passionfruit coulie, roasted pecans”; £8.00) which was a delightfully smooth creamy pudding with the tangy passionfruit on the top and texture provided by the pecans. A wonderful and light final course for our meal.

Bar Seating

The total bill which included a “discretionary service” charge of 12.5% came to £97.64 which was more than I expected but not entirely surprising. Despite the small prices of the dishes you need to have quite a few of them to make up a meal and here you certainly want to try a bit of everything if you can with such unusual flavours on offer. Coming back we will certainly want to pick a few more mains to try but will be returning to the “Kubaneh” bread without a doubt…

Friendly staff, delicious food, The Palomar is certainly a highlight of the area but remember to reserve a table and be prepared to try some unusual dishes with surprising spices and elegant, imaginative presentation.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-07-14


Cuisine: Israeli (Jerusalem)

Address: 34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Leicester Square TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Soho

Map:

 

Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7439 8777

URL: https://thepalomar.co.uk/