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The Palomar

34 Rupert Street, W1D 6DN

020 7439 8777 Price £35

Nestling on the edge of Chinatown, this tiny Israeli eatery

punches well above its weight, delivering vibrant �avours

and the warmest of welcomes - the day's menu even lists

who is on duty in the kitchen and out front. Watch the

chefs work their magic in the no-bookings 'kitchen bar' or

cosy up in the intimate wood-panelled dining area

decked out with smart blue banquettes.

Chefs from Jerusalem's celebrated restaurant

Machneyuda are manning the stoves here, preparing

creative dishes that blend traditional Levantine

cooking with modern in�uences from Spain, Italy

and North Africa. Friendly staƒ encourage you to

experiment with the sharing menu, explaining each

dish so expertly that you'll want to taste each one.

'Have the polenta!' enthused our neighbouring

diners. Served 'Jerusalem style' with asparagus,

mushroom ragoût, truˆe oil and parmesan

shavings it's simply unmissable.

To start, pot-baked Yemini bread arrives as

a warm, brioche-style loaf for dipping into

creamy tahini or a gazpacho-style sauce that

lives up to its billing of 'velvet tomatoes'. Our

smoky aubergine from the Josper grill was

followed by aubergine 'Sima's way' - a richly

spiced treat that contrasted neatly with fresh

fattoush salad and creamy labneh cheese.

We'd also recommend the 'shakshukit' - a

cleverly deconstructed kebab involving layers of

spicy minced meat, tahini, tapenade, preserved

lemon, sumac and watercress pesto.

Despite its Jewish roots, the menu isn't kosher

- witness softly marinated octopus salad with

chickpeas and chilli, or pork belly tagine with

warming ras el hanout spice. Equally inventive desserts

and cocktails, plus interesting wines are further draws.

Beast

3 Chapel Place, W1G 0BG

020 7495 1816 Price £108

Having wowed Londoners with Burger “ Lobster, the Goodman

steakhouse group has come up with another wheeze - this

time involving steak and Norwegian red king crabs. The giant

crustaceans, sourced from waters around the Arctic Circle, are

the divas of seafood: they will only travel individually, not packed

in containers. If one dies, it emits toxins that kill the rest of the

shipment, which explains why each one has a hefty price-tag.

You'll learn these fascinating facts from your greeter at Beast,

who waits at the bottom of the lift with a huge claw-waving

monster. Meet them, greet them and eat them…

The dramatic basement dining room is dominated by

three huge communal tables lit by candles and dripping

candelabra. It's an extravagant setting for an extravagant

set menu weighing in at a hefty £75 (without drinks).

Start with a huge quarter-wheel of parmesan cheese, plus

olives and pickles. Next up is a slab of quality rib-eye steak,

which, disappointingly, arrives without chips, though the

accompanying smoked heritage tomato salad makes amends.

But the crab is really the main event here: sweet, succulent �esh

that makes native examples pale into insigniœcance.

Swanky sides such as chargrilled asparagus are rather

unnecessary, while the wine list is a who's who of top

producers, with top prices to match. Beast is a beauty for the

West End's high-rolling crowd, though the limted oƒering

makes us wonder how many would visit more than once.

THE LAST WORD Commune with the sea at Beast, where giant crustaceans

are kings of a candlelit extravaganza - at a right royal price to match

THE LAST WORD A modern take on traditional Middle Eastern

cuisine, with inventive sweet and savoury dishes designed for sharing

Nigella at

The Palomar

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