Harden's survey result
“Deafening and crowded, but that’s all part of the fun” – Tel Aviv comes to Theatreland at this “interesting haven”, on the fringe of Chinatown. “If you like atmosphere, too much noise, and somewhere right in the heart of things, it hits the bullseye”; and “sitting at the bar, bantering with the chefs and soaking up the superb playlist help make this a truly memorable occasion”. The “stunning and stunningly different”, “Israeli-influenced” small plates are “simply scrumptious” too, even if “prices are high for such a quick turnover of covers”.
“It is frustratingly difficult to plan to eat” at this Tel Aviv-comes-to-Theatreland venture, given its humongous popularity and limited ability to book (only possible in the relatively un-funky dining room). The main action is “sitting at the counter watching the chefs (a riot!)” and its “great range of Middle Eastern / Mediterranean tapas” delivers “small plates zinging with flavour and invention”. With its “fabulous buzz”, fans say “you can’t say you’ve eaten in London till you’ve tried here”, but there’s the odd niggle too – “noisy”, “cramped” and “chaotic” conditions (to fans part of the charm), and a staff attitude that can sometimes “verge on arrogant”.
“The Israeli answer to Barrafina” – this “compact” (“squashed”, “noisy” and sometimes “boiling”) Tel Aviv import is a “joyous” and “horizon-opening” experience, where “the good humour of the staff is infectious” and the “clever” (if sometimes “miniscule”) small plates dish up “whizz-bang” flavours that “demand to be noticed”. “Sitting at the counter, interacting with the chefs” is the way to go – you can only book for the much less funky dining room.
“If you can’t visit their original restaurant, Machneyuda in Israel” this “piece of trendy Tel Aviv in London” is “the next best thing”. “Cramped, noisy and pulsating with life”, you can book for the side room, but the place to be is the “buzzy, free-style” bar “rubbing elbows with your neighbours”. Service is “friendly” and “as it comes”, and the “adventurous Levantine food” is “ultra-fresh” and “anything but dull!”
The Palomar Restaurant Diner Reviews
"If I was to sum up Palomar in one word, it would be buzzy. We arrived at 5.40 on a Wednesday and put our names down, and received a call an hour later summoning us to the counter. The waitress behind the bar was very knowledgeable, knowing all about what was in the dishes, the exact ingredients used and how they would be presented. If anything, the service was a little too good! Our six dishes arrived in three tranches as soon as they were cooked - which no doubt speeds up customer turnover but meant we felt a little under pressure. The food was utterly delicious. Simple flavours, simple ingredients but cooked brilliantly and oh so fresh. The little bowl of truffle polenta, mushrooms and asparagus, octopus with chickpeas and smoked aubergine puree, and sumac labneh all come highly recommended. Add in a couple of glasses of reasonably priced Tokay and Albarinho and we left very happy. The atmosphere was great - music at just the right level but wouldn't have wanted to have a quiet conversation! Add in the various frying and steaming sounds emerging from the open kitchen, the right conditions were created for a highly enjoyable evening."
|Wine per bottle||£31.00|
Handily located near Piccadilly Circus, a characterful and upbeat dining bar/restaurant bringing refreshing modern Israeli cuisine to the heart of the West End.
Serving 'the food of modern day Jerusalem' - in Chinatown - this quirky spot is clearly not your typical newcomer. And it's not just the mismatch between the culinary style and the location which makes it rather unusual. We can't think of many places where not only the kitchen staff, but the front-of-house too, all get individual name checks on that day's menu, or where one of the chefs wears a tweed cap, or indeed where there is no menu in the window - an oversight the day we visited, perhaps, but not entirely in accordance with the law.
But let's not let legalities get in the way. It's not difficult to see why, with its upbeat vibe (and quite loud jazz Muzak), this handily-located place has so speedily made waves, as almost everything on the menu is decidedly more-eish (and often Moorish too).
Even the Challah bread (served warm, with Tahini) was impressive. We used it avidly to scoop out a ramekin of polenta 'Jerusalem style' (with mushroom ragout and truffle oil) - a dish so unctuous it could equally well have been described as being in the style of Uriah Heep. Fortunately we were able to 'cut' it with a refreshing salad of fennel with Feta vinaigrette. For a (very) light lunch, with a small glass of wine, for £20, our meal thus far would have made a very civilised choice.
We pressed on, though. A main course of 'deconstructed' lamb kebab was perhaps the least successful choice - a compilation without much in the way of physical structure, it sometimes just seemed an assemblage of rather strident tastes. Harmony was restored, though, by a chocolate crémeux of which any Gallic pÃ¢tissier would have been proud. Fortunately the espresso was as intense as it was short.
All in all a very handy place, then, if you sit at the bar counter - shades of J Sheekey's Oyster Bar, we thought.
For more serious troughing, the intimate panelled dining room at the back would be the place to be. Book well ahead.
34 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DN
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm|
|Sunday||12:30 pm‑3:30 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm|