For more updates...

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

2015 ends and modern Jerusalem trends at The Palomar

Do you ever have those moments when you realise that you have utterly lost any semblance of balance?! Apparently there are 8,760 hours in the average year and on the eve of Christmas Eve, as I stare at my uncharacteristically empty inbox and minimal to-do list in bewilderment, I surmise that the vast majority of these hours have, to a frighteningly significant degree, been spent either working or sleeping…yet again! As if we didn’t already know it, New Year’s resolutions are THE most pointless of ambitions, doomed only to failure unless yours was to wisely accept their futility and not bother.

This year, I have travelled to 23 cities across 12 countries, I’ve given up at least 10 whole weekends to celebrate other peoples life choices (you’re welcome, by the way!), I’ve barely missed any birthday bashes (again, you’re welcome!), I’ve smashed 3 long weekends away (though I’m still not sure if Liverpool and Manchester count!), I’ve napped my way through 2 holidays and thoroughly enjoyed 1 staycation; and in between all of this, I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in a little (not enough) time with the dear family. In order to achieve all of the aforementioned, I’ve endured cramped planes and chaotic airports full of folk who still don’t seem to understand the concept of a security check; I’ve nursed a gin-in-a-tin on the floor of countless delayed and/or overcrowded trains (often with my face pressed up against the toilet door), I’ve lived by the rules of our sweaty tubes (and tube strikes), I’ve borne the brunt of inexplicably expensive taxis (Uber just doesn’t quite stretch to the shires!), and I’ve raved like a lunatic to the lyrics to Reel 2 Real’s “I Like To Move It” in a fit of bored delirium on the M25 (enough said!). I suppose then, that with an average 6 hours of sleep on a school night, plus 7 – 9 hours on a weekend (4 - 5 hours if working abroad and seemingly the same at the parental gaff if my mother and her hoover have anything to do with it!), I’ve spent a smidgen under 60% of my year working and sleeping (approximately 5,184 hours if you want to get scientific about it!).

To follow this train of thought, if 60% of 2015 has been work and sleep, then I’m almost certain that I could justify the remaining 40% of the year on eating. OK, OK, perhaps this is closer to 25% once I also take into account the 7% of time spent quaffing of beer or bubbles about town, 5% loafing around my flat with abysmal hair and smelly breath, and 3% on sundry chores including washing, shopping, and cooking etc. One of the eateries that has made it onto my culinary map this year and is certainly a worthy contributor to my 25% activity share (unlike those few who achieve nothing more than to steal my time and money), is The Palomar.

When it opened in May 2014, the inevitable hype was a little too much for me to bear, so I aimed to put it off for at least 6 months – unfortunately for me, I let this slip to over a year though, which meant that I allowed over 8,760 hours disappear without ever experiencing the somewhat hidden delights of modern Jewish food! This place is not all hummus and matzah balls – you will find a Pork Belly Tajine with Res el Hanout, dried apricots and Israeli cous cous for £16 and Seared Scallops with a cured lemon beurre blanc, Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke and a hazelnut tuille for £14.50, both with unmistakably Middle Eastern flavours and both certainly not kosher! The Corn-Fed Chicken Two Ways (buttermilk fried and stroganoffed) for £15 was right up my strasse and if I might I say so, the Yiddish Bruschetta with chicken liver pate (£6) was to die for. The bijou menu is all served up as a series of small dishes on crockery that could have come from your Grandmothers cupboard, and to dine at the counter is both vibrant and voyeuristic – the chefs cook in complete calm as they swiftly create mini masterpieces in between taking a shot with you and generally enjoying your presence! It's not the cheapest culinary discovery, especially when you consider the tapas style dining, but believe me, it's ethnic fine dining at its best.

I should confess at this point, that Middle Eastern food is not traditionally a cuisine I would fight you for. All those tajines are too stewy for me, cous cous is just neither here nor there (flavourless and bitty), aubergine should be banished to the fiery swamps of death, and does hummus really have to be everywhere?! How wrong I was in this instance though! The plating was contemporary, the flavours were fused, cohesive and vibrant in a way that truly represents a global cuisine; and the experience was impeccable. Now, I am no expert on Jewish food, but I genuinely walk out the door feeling a newfound desire to explore Sephardic fine dining – I guess in London, Yotam Ottolenghi is the closest thing for me to hit up next! Watch this space, I am quickly becoming a convert. 

The morals of today's story then:
  • Soho triumphs yet again!
  • Modern Sephardic food is so much more than you imagine or expect it to be, I promise
  • Next time you complain at me for not making enough effort, remember that I only achieved 5% relaxation time this year!
  • Perhaps I should spend more than 3% of 2016 on washing!

Beef Tartare (hand chopped rump steak, burnt aubergine cream, josperized tomato viniagrette, toasted almonds and crispy Jerusalem artichoke (£9.00)
Yiddish Bruschetta with chicken liver pate (£6.00)
A Date with Endive & Chicory with blue stilton, walnuts and apples (£8.00)

Shakshukit (de-constructed kebab, minced meat, yoghurt, tahini, "The Four Tops" and Yaeli's pita (£11.00)
Corn Fed Chicken Two Ways (buttermilk fried and stroganoffed, mixed spice and tenderstem broccoli with freekeh (£15.00) 

Square Meal  The Palomar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No comments:

Post a Comment