At a glance
🍴 Type/Cuisine: Israeli / Middle-Eastern.
📍 Location: 34 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DN, England.
🗣 Social: Instagram
💸 Price: dinner for 2 with a glass of wine each – £45pp inc. service.
🌏 Website: https://thepalomar.co.uk/
Flying the flag for Israel
I’d be hard pressed to think of an Israeli restaurant I can recommend. For me, London’s Jewish restaurant doesn’t excite, many stuck in kosher’s past and up against the behemoths of London’s food scene including Thai, Chinese and Italian. But finally, I think Palomar are changing the way we Londoner’s see Israeli food.
As soon as you enter, you’ll notice the convivial atmosphere thanks to the light decor, the excited chatter of fellow diners and pulse-quickening dance music of classic pop songs from the early 2000s. All the cool kids hang here! And although I was slightly late, I was welcomed just as warmly. Like Kricket, it’s a small place and you’ll find an L-Shaped counter dining experience from which you can look into the open kitchen. Once you’re seated, you’ll notice people occasionally squeezing past to get to their seat to the cosier part of the restaurant at the back (reserved for groups of 6+). This place feels like a warm family party than a restaurant.
From the ocean to the pastures.
The menu is wide with food drawn from all sources whether it’s plucked from the ocean or harvested from our lush green fields. In true Middle-Eastern style, dishes come in small plates and are meant for sharing. Tips from me. 5 small plates to share should do the trick for most people.
To start, I opted for the ‘Spicy Experience Chilli’ which consisted of spicy & harrisa and creamy shifkeh dips. Coming from a Thai family, I virtually grew up on chilli so am often sceptical when I see the word ‘spicy’ written in London restaurants menus. But I can confirm that it is here. But it was super tasty and when you order extra handmade pittas (the softest I’ve ever teared apart) to mop every last dip, you know it’s good (even if your tongue is on fire).
Things got even better when the Persian Pappardelle from the ‘Field & Garden’ section was set before me. The pasta was cooked al denté as it should be and the artichoke, Persian lemon, mangetout and garlic sauce was one of those where you mop every last ounce.
Every week, there is a ‘special’ dish that isn’t printed on the menu but you’ll know about as you’re waiter talks you through the menu. On my visit, it was braised ox cheek with couscous. While delicious, it was not as bold in flavour or as vibrant as the other dish. It was satisfyingly filling and plentiful nonetheless.
One of the most expensive item on the menu is the pan seared scallop. Fantastic as it was in presentation and in taste, there is no doubt other dishes offered better value and taste just as good.
To wrap things up, the Chocolate & Earl Grey Tart Pistachio cream, raspberries was smooth and not overwhelmingly rich as chocolate tends to be. A great end to any feast.
Efficient but friendly service
It wasn’t just the food that was excellent, the service was too – fast and efficient but also friendly and patient. My waiter talked me through every dish on the menu, told me about the special dish of the week and helpfully pointed out dishes that we shouldn’t order because of my friend’s allergy. The large staff to customer ratio meant my glass never went empty nor did I have to wait long grab anyone’s attention.
Good to know
Unsurprisingly, Palomar is very popular and like Kricket, operate a walk-in basis only. Thus, you can expect to wait for your counter seat. Luckily, Palomar also operates a virtual queue which means you can put your name down on the waiting list before going off into Soho. You’ll be called back when your seat is ready, typically 1 hour later on a Wednesday night, and you’ll have 10 mins-ish to make it back so don’t wandering too far!
A fantastic Israeli restaurant for all you beautiful people of London
The lively and friendly vibes mean Palomar is the perfect place to catch up with mates over dinner. But whether you’re coming with a friend, or dining on your own (no shame in that at all btw), the Palomar will make you feel welcome. I’m so glad I now know an Israeli restaurant in London that I can now recommend with confidence.
✨ DECOR AMBIENCE: 4/5.
🤵🏻 SERVICE: 4.5/5
🍸 FOOD: 4.5/5
🌟 OVERALL: 4.25/5