The Palomar
REVIEWS, June 19, 2014
Overall Value
out of 5
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience
The Palomar, 34 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DN

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 pâtissier 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.

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