I love it when I get to catch up with Elizabeth from Mayfair Office Girl because we always pick somewhere new to eat and The Palomar had been on our list for a while! Our first attempt to eat here wasn’t so successful. You see we never book far enough in advance – seriously this place is always booked up! One wednesday evening after enjoying a cocktail at Pollen Street Social we wandered over at about 7:30pm and there was a queue outside and a wait of over an hour. So we cut our loses and headed elsewhere.
However, recently when meeting on a Monday evening we thought we’d have a better chance of getting a walk-in. Getting there at 5:45 we nabbed the last two seats at the 16 seat zinc Kitchen Bar that overlooks the chefs. This shows just how popular The Palomar is, and for very good reason too. Located in the heart of Soho The Palomar serves a modern menu with inspiration from Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. There is a 40 seat small dinning room at the back and the seats at the Kitchen Bar. It’s a very small and snug place which I love.
Whilst looking through the menu we were eying up everyone else’s food to help us work out what we should order ourselves. We saw this pot turn up to the guys sat next to us, the lid was removed and this wonderful smelling bread was popped out. We quickly asked which of the breads this was and ordered the Kubaneh Yemeni pot baked bread. It is served with tahini and grated tomatoes. The tomatoes were so smooth and rich, I loved dipping the warm bread into this. I’d go back for the bread alone to be honest!
The Palomar offers a ‘raw bar’ which is always a winner for me. I could have ordered all the dishes from this section of the menu but refrained and ordered just two saving space for all the other delightful dishes on offer. The first dish, Papi’s Cured Sardine on toasted challah, served beautifully was light and fresh and I enjoyed the sweet red onions.
Next we ordered the Mackerel Fricassée. This is a Tunisian fried bun with mackerel, cured lemon, potato, capers and quail’s egg. If I had to pick a least favourite dish of the night it would be this. It wasn’t bad at all but I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the others – I found the mackerel to be a little tough, but loved the fried buns and quails eggs.
Anyone I mention The Palomar to who has been tells me to order the Cauliflower “Steak”. And going forward, I too will tell anyone planning on going to order it too! Served with cured lemon butter, homemade labneh and toasted almonds, this dish is just delicious! I’ve found a real love for cauliflower recently, and this dish does not disappoint. Lightly spiced with tangy labneh and crunchy almonds this dish has all the right things going on. I’m definitely going to be trying to recreate this at home!
We also ordered one of the specials – pumpkin gnocchi with parsnip crisps and shallot. This was another beautiful looking dish and I loved the crispy gnocchi and sweet shallot.
The last dish to come was the Octo-hummous which is described as josperized octopus “steak” with chickpea msabacha & cherry tomato confit. Oh, the octopus was cooked so perfectly! This large portion was topped with a fresh herby sauce and we loved the whole chickpeas adding to the different textures.
I have realised quite unlike me that this meal contained no meat! I would normally always order meat dishes, but The Palomar really delivers on flavour and I didn’t feel like I needed anything else. I will definitely try some of the meat dishes next time though – the Shaksshuit and Jerusalem Mix sound particularly good.
As you know, I love cocktails and I was very happy to find a great cocktail menu on offer at The Palomar. They all sounded delicious but I managed to whittle it down to ‘the Palomar’. I wanted something light and fresh and this fitted the bill. It consisted of tequila, pink grapefruit, lime juice, agave syrup, grapefruit bitters and topped up with soda water. Very enjoyable indeed.
If you can get there early or don’t mind a bit of a wait I would definitely recommend sitting at the bar, it’s great fun up there! I think it also adds to the wonderful atmosphere. I really enjoyed our meal at The Palomar, they are serving an interesting and delicious menu which is top quality and fresh. I think it’s the perfect spot for a date so I’ll be bringing D here very soon!