The Palomar restaurant
34 Rupert St, London
It’s small, it’s squished, and on our visit the service a little scattered – but for the food, it’s all worth it. The Palomar is the London debut from a collective of chefs behind one of Jerusalem’s most popular restaurants, Machneyuda, and their cooking brings a fresh zing of modern Israeli to the capital. It’s not kosher – there’s a pork belly tagine on the menu and a raw bar with shellfish, for example – but the regional flavours are all there with a bang, along with some unusual twists. Nuggets of chicken are cooked in buttermilk and, together with a polenta-wrapped chicken leg, come topped on a fluffy bed of spiced freekeh. A spring salad drizzled in feta vinaigrette sings with the crunch of fennel, asparagus and kohlrabi. The ‘daily 6’ – a collection of meze dishes – is a good way to get a taster, but don’t miss the kubaneh, a traditional pot-baked bread served with tahini and tomato dips. The standout is the shakshukit – a salty, moreish mound of spiced minced meat, pitta, yoghurt and tahini – but don’t leave without running a spoon through the immaculate rose-scented milk pudding. AM.