I must have been living under a rock all this time to not have heard of Palomar, self described as "serving the food of modern day Jerusalem". A friend of mine recommended it, and after some quick google search, I quickly realised what I had been missing out. With the knowledge that it was voted "hottest restaurant" by the Londonist in 2014, I went in with high hopes.
Before coming, I was told the atmosphere of Palomar is very lively especially if you are sitting at the counter; to the point where you should prepare to take shots with the bartenders by the end of the evening. But unfortunately my companion and I arranged a time to go very late in the afternoon, so the place wasn't buzzing as much.
We started the meal with the Octo-hummous. The hummous was so smooth you could mistake it for mayonnaise, but paired with the texture of the octopus, it was a perfect marriage. I'm not sure how the octopus was cooked, but it was so tender you could have definitely cut it with a spoon. A definite A+ in my book.
As it is summer, my companion and I decided we should try and be "healthy" thus the order of the cauliflower steak. What arrived seemed more like a whole head of cauliflower, but for £7.5 I suppose they were trying to give you your money's worth.
I'm not sure who the head chef is at Palomar, but I seriously applaud his ability of pairing flavours that compliment each other perfectly. Who knew cauliflower could be so tasty? I only wish the cauliflower came a bit more charred.
When the deconstructed kebab arrived, it instantly reminded me of the scrumptious mince & tatties dish The Modern Pantry put up for Taste of London. If you've read my review for that, you would know I instantly fell in love with the dish, and thus dug into the Shakshukit with high hopes.
Luckily, my expectations were met. The dish was really interesting as each time you had a spoonful, it would taste instantly different due to the four "secret" sauce draped over the minced meat. I had expected the dish to be heavy, but the yoghurt lightens the whole dish up in all the right ways. I only wish the sauces were distributed in a better way. The taste was a bit too pungent in some mouthfuls.
I had just come back from Morocco, so you would expect me to be all Tajined out, but I would have happily had Palomar's pork belly tajine again any day. The pork was not as tender as I had anticipated, but paired with the honey drizzled couscous, the dish could only be described as moreish. I'm seriously salivating as I'm writing this post!
Unfortunately the four dishes filled us up so much that we didn't have the opportunity to try the desserts, but trust me, Palomar has certainly not seen the last of me. I'm one hard lady to please when it comes to food, but Palomar has definitely become one of my top 5 favourite restaurants in London.
Waitress who took our order was not particularly helpful and seemed disinterested, but the waitress served us our bill was very friendly & certainly made up for her colleague.
Tip: Go sit by the counter! The actual dining area is VERY small, and has less of an atmosphere.