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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Restaurant: The Palomar, Soho

Beautiful business cards (photo from thepalomar.co.uk)

Swap the warm beer cans for a Sumac Tree cocktail and the one hour queue for a stool at the bar to watch the chefs at Palomar - Soho’s new modern Jerusalem restaurant - dance to tunes and the waiting staff down shots and you could be fooled into thinking you’re in the queue for a club night.

Perhaps that’s not such a surprise considering the restaurant is an unorthodox collaboration between sibling ex-owners of the pumping club, The End, (including Layo from the DJ duo Layo and Bushwacka) and chefs from Machneyuda, a thoroughly modern Israeli restaurant with roots in Jerusalem.

The menu: For those who want to kick back (photo from thepalomar.co.uk)

Clinging onto the last days of summer, we ordered a bottle of rose, a similar colour to the handsome menu, which had a Palm Springs feel and read “for those who want to kick back” and that, we did.

The baked Yemeni bread (photo from thepalomar.co.uk)

After the wait, we are hungry. We swiftly ordered The Daily Six: small bowls filled with aubergine, hearty beany dishes and more delicate pastes and dips including home made tahini but the baked Yemeni brioche stole the starter show, banged out of its tin and onto our board with lots of chef drama.

The raw bar (photo from thepalomar.co.uk)

Up next was chicken cooked in buttermilk. The meat; silky and zinged up with ingredient of the moment: freekeh. The onglet was uncharacteristically tender,
brightened up with a yolky fried egg. We ordered a Spring salad from the raw bar and watched the chef toss the strips of kohlrabi, asparagus and fresh fennel in a lemony pestoy vinegrette. The citrus and crunch cut through the meat and was a must order, simply delicious.

The bar sand kitchen (photo from thepalomar.co.uk)

More tunes and moves from the chefs and another round of shots. This time a few eager diners were invited to join in with a vibrant red watermelon concoction.

Places like Palomar are rare in London, where the staff seem have just as much fun as the diners. I left feeling happy, tipsy, and that I had been for a whole lot more than a feed.

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