48 | squaremeal.co.uk
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 sta 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, true 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.
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 insignicance.
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 oering
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