The Palomar, in London’s west-end, serving modern day Jerusalem inspired food has been on Elldrews bucket list for far too long. So, with a day out of the office, we excitedly headed to a late lunch booking.
The first thing you notice when you enter the tiny restaurants is the zinc bar and open plan kitchen running the length of the bar (seating 16), it’s the perfect spot to watch your food from conception. Alternatively, you can choose a seat from the small dining area at the back. They say it’s an ‘intimate’ space on their website, so only being able to hold 40 covers we’d agree. We loved the decor colours throughout; a mix of blues, golds and dark woods. The natural light from the dining rooms massive skylight ensured we never felt cramped as we sat back and soaked up the energetic vibe.
Our waiter, Tomas, took us through the selection of dishes on offer and explained we should order 2-3 per person. This is another sharing concept restaurant, which Elldrew love, as it gives us the chance to savour a larger selection of dishes, but we appreciate it isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Right, onto the good stuff…we started with the Kubaneh bread (served with a tomato dip and tahini). Baked on premises, the bread was light and moorish, the perfect accompaniment with a starter cocktail. Their ‘Spicy Experience’ is a selection of chilli paste, harissa and shifkeh (pickled peppers). We found the chilli well balanced but, be warned, whilst Elldrew don’t mind a bit of heat these dips won’t be for those with a plainer palate – even our waiter turned up his nose, not being a chilli fan. We kept the chilli selection for the entire meal, which was great when we wanted to add spice to suit personal tastes.
We struggled with our “main” choices as there were just too many things we wanted to try, but the ever-helpful Tomas let us into a secret – there are a handful of dishes that they serve as a half portion – allowing us to try even more dishes! We ultimately chose two meat dishes. First was a succulent citrus chicken breast with lentils and courgettes; delicate and well-balanced but we needed to add some of the savoury dips to give it a ‘kick’. Their signature dish, the Shakshukit beef and lamb, with pistachios and pine nuts was one of the secret “half portion” dishes and made up our second dish; mouth-wateringly good that it nearly had us licking the bowl wishing we’d ordered a full portion.
We followed with the seared scallops served on baked new potatoes and bacon with a corn sauce; a fantastic blend of flavours cooked to perfection. The ‘Tree of Life’ broccoli with feta and tomatoes was a great side that even broccoli-hating Ell enjoyed.
We couldn’t pass the puddings so ordered the choclava chocolate crémeux, caramelised pecans, citrus cream and chocolate truffles (effectively a deconstructed chocolate baklava on a bed of crumbled pistachio and puff pastry) and the ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ pomegranate “basbousa” semolina cake, halva ice cream with almond palmier…both dishes not only looked amazing on the plate (actually all dishes looked fantastic) they also sent our taste buds whirling and we still can’t decide which was our favourite.
A relaxed two-hour lunch left us with smiles on our faces, again kicking ourselves we’d left another bucket list restaurant so long. With such a diverse range of restaurants in London we are finding it harder to tick off that list, but we’ve made a promise this year to try harder whilst also remembering to go back to some of our favourites…The Palomar definitely being on the return list.
34 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DN