Archives for posts with tag: Honey & Co

It’s always interesting in my field of work to see how things cluster together to point you in a certain direction.

Brunch @tahinirest

Brunch @tahinirest

Last week was my birthday and I was lucky enough to be taken to one of the last days of the @tahinirest: a pop up established by an old colleague of ours, Josh. He took a big step last year taking his family on the most incredible journey travelling around Europe and the Middle East and was so inspired by the Israeli food in particular that he created a temporary restaurant offer on his return.

Over a really fabulous brunch, we discussed what it was about the food in Israel that had captured his imagination. He talked about the balance of fresh food, spices, and flavours: a combination of which he hadn’t seen much of back in London. In particular we chatted about to make labneh and how tahini really was most amazing almost undiscovered product over here. Whilst we know it to be a key ingredient in hummus, he told us how versatile it was and how it could be used in so many, both savoury and sweet ways. Apparently Yotam Ottolenghi had only that week declared it one of the best kept secrets that was about to emerge and I went away still relishing the combination that had been served that day.

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Fast forward only 4 days later and I was also being treated for my birthday – well a girl has a right to elongate her celebrations! This time, it was a chance to try The Palomar. This new eaterie has been getting rave reviews and whilst they are new to us, the Jerusalem food scene is only too familiar with this team. The Machneyuda Group now boast five outlets headed by the trendiest of Jerusalem restaurants and inspired by Iron Chef Assaf Granit and his two other Exec chefs: Uri Navon and Yossi Elad who combine Palestinian/Israeli food with European influences to huge success.

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When something is so well reviewed, I can’t help wondering whether it is just hype and in so many cases the actual experience is never quite so good. In the case of the Palomar, it is all true. As Mr Jones said – they had me at the bread. Pastry chef Yael really has brought a great intro to the meal with a must-have soft, buttery Yemeni pot baked bread. Yes, this is all about sharing although you might not want to let anyone else near the bread, but what we loved most was the use of those flavours that Josh had talked about just a few days earlier. The bread came with a grated tomato and silky tahini (what else) and parsnip crisps with labneh and chilli harissa. Early dishes from the raw section of the menu mixed fresh salads with herbs, spices and pulses with yogurt or homemade labneh dressings. The mains showcased the resident Josper grill to add a smokiness to the meat which balanced hot chilli and sweet fruits to create such tasty dishes. The chicken had crispy skin with succulent meat … the pork mixed sweet fruit and sour spice. The overall effect was just truly tasty plates of food and how often can you say that?

The only disappointment was the announcement that the tahini ice cream was off the menu. I had really wanted to see that sweet application to better understand the aforementioned versatility. Shame. I will just have to go back and try out a few more dishes. Next time I will risk a walk in on the bar and partake in some of that chef/customer banter that has been written up.

In light of the ever popular Ottolenghi and the much applauded Honey & Co., The Palomar just goes to prove that food of the Levant is the latest craze to try and I for one embrace it wholeheartedly. It is also well on the way to proving that tahini may well be the latest ingredient to look out for in the future.

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Sofabrother and I had a day out today in London.

It’s always difficult to know where to take someone who is already knowledgable not only about London but also the food world. He always has things to show me in Cape Town and so I needed to reciprocate. We both observed just how over populated the food ‘scene’ is in London. Everywhere you go there is some new place opening, and shutting, so what is worth seeing and knowing?

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Our day started at the Tower of London. Not for its food offering, but because I really wanted to see the evolving art installation that is there. Those of you who know me well understand the relevance of poppies and this really is an incredibly moving, innovative, thought provoking artwork. Over 800,000 poppies fill the Tower’s moat representing the lost lives of the British military who died in the First World War. You can read more about it here and like me, buy one of those poppies here.

Onward to our food day. We decided to explore areas that Sofabro hadn’t already done on his trip and that took us first to Marylebone High Street. Honestly there was not a huge amount that was different there. La Fromagerie is as lovely as ever and Ginger Pig as impressive. Patisserie de Reves had the now famous Kouign Amann in a long oblong form rather than the traditional round and whichever way you look at it, layered buttery pastry with sugar can only be yum. Probably the most surprising moment was to see the old home of Divertimenti now under construction to be replaced by Anthropologie. Such a sign of the times. We grabbed a coffee at Nordic Bakery so that we could see the Swedish influence and then moved onwards to Selfridges.

There we were able to see some products that I wanted to show him. The Pressery almond milk is pure and wonderful, pressing (sorry – bad pun!) all the fashionable buttons that Roots and Bulbs also did on the way down to Oxford Street. The raw health market is one that is gaining coverage for the right reasons and cold pressing seems to be the thing to do lately whether with nuts, fruit, veg or coffee…or any combination of the above. These are quality drinks with nothing added. Pure goodness. They sat alongside Mr Sherick’s milkshakes, created by an old colleague of ours. This is the other extreme in terms of health, but certainly a wonderful product in its own right. The eponymous Mr Sherick used to work in the meat department at M&S and now he is the proud winner of the Grocer’s New Product of the Year 2014. Quite a feat.

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We also had a nose at The Meringue Girls, Daylesford’s new buttermilk, Selfridge’s new range of Christmas products, a try of hot cordial and tasters at St John’s Bakery. Finally we passed Boomf magical mallows. This pod promoted a new service that allows you to print any picture you have onto a box of nine square marshmallows. White fluffy instagram pics. I don’t know if I was impressed or appalled at the thought that you could print a pic of your loved one, or favourite scene and then eat your way through the whole thing. What will they think of next?

Onwards through St Christopher’s place, Bond Street, South Molton Street and Regent Street until we arrived at Pitt Cue Co. Sofabro hadn’t eaten there yet, so we shared a couple of things and whilst the menu is not as exciting as previously and the prices not as keen, I was relieved to find that the food itself was as yummy as ever. Smoked kimchi, Mangalitsa pork shoulder, beans & red chard….all as rich, dense, smoky and meaty as ever. We needed to walk it off, so made our way back up Kingley Street, Great Portland Street and wended our way towards Tottenham Court Road.

We spotted the new Boopshi’s schnitzel & spritz offering which carried on the theme of so many of these places specialising in one thing. Like the Greek, Opso, that we saw earlier on, they are all offering a select menu, an industrial look & feel, metal, wood and the obligatory pendant lights made from something relevant: a whisk, a pot, a bottle….you name it. Continuing the design theme, we wandered along Tottenham Court Road through Heals, Habitat and West Elm before pondering the offer at Planet Organic and Paul A. Young for a chocolate fix.

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Finally, we ended up at Honey & Co. It felt right that we went there as it has received so much coverage. It’s such an unassuming place but has received great publicity because of its food offer and also its book. I kind of wanted to find it pretentious so that I could snub it but the truth is that it is as good, if not better than people say. We perched outside on a little table, had mint tea made with handfuls of fresh mint and shared a warm chestnut cake with salted caramel. The chef/owner, Itamar Srulovich welcomed us personally as if we were old friends and took us through the impressive afternoon cake offering. He charmed us with observations about his lovely wife and served us himself the most delicate cake. I was touched by the tiny vase of flowers on the table. Plucked daisies and cornflowers just showed me how much they cared, and it reflected in their food. We browsed the book, pondered our day and shared our thoughts before Sofabro went South and I went North to our respective homes. Next time, Cape Town but for now, a great day in London.

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