Thursday night I went for the first time at Moro, I was invited by my lovely flatmate for a very late birthday celebration (my birthday was in March). She wanted to do something special, and go somewhere I had never been before. After a few months of research, we ended up next to our house, in Exmouth Market in the famous Spanish/North African restaurant Moro. She discovered I had never been there, despite the fact I have been to their sister restaurant: Morito many times. JACKPOT, she found the prefect place to go. 

As soon as we arrived we were offered some bread and olive oil. We had a look at the menu and wine list. I thought it was a bit weird you couldn't have tapas served at the table as sides to your meal.
Bread & Olive oil

My flatmate ordered charcoal grilled octopus. I am not a big fan of octopus, which I forgot to tell her. But I tried a little piece, just because I was curious. For a non-lover of octopus, I quite liked it, but I won't be able to have a whole dish on my own. The octopus was well cooked, not too chewy. 
 Charcoal grilled octopus with tomato and cucumber salad and pine nuts, raisins and tahiini sauce

It is impossible for me to ignore a dish which contain goat's cheese on a menu, my flatmate knew without asking I was going to order the potato fritter. Potato fritter was cripsy on the outside and soft inside however, I thought they could have put a little bit more goat's cheese in it, or a stronger one. The taste of potato was over powering the goat's cheese. This dish was served with a classic salad if you only judge by what you can see, but the secret is in its dressing. It was a delight, full of flavours, I would have licked my plate to not leave any drops. 
 Potato fritter with goat's cheese, tomato and zhoug

As a main, my flatmate ordered the wood roasted skate, it came with some rice, cooked in a paella way. Again fish was nicely cooked, flakey inside with a tiny touch of crispiness on the outside.
 Wood roasted skate with arroz, prawns, flat beans and samphire

My main was a wood roasted chicken, it was served with a nice and refreshing salad of fried cabbage, thin slices of radishes, tarragon, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts and tahini yoghurt.
One part of the chicken was perfectly cooked, the other part was a little bit dry. Luckily I used the chicken jus, tahini and salad dressing as a sauce to dip it to be less dry. Raw vegetables added a touch of crunchiness to the dish and went well with the well cooked piece of chicken.
Wood roasted chicken with fried cabbage, radishes, tarragon, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts and tahini yoghurt

Despite the dry piece of chicken and the over powering potato, I thought dishes were nice. It is all about mix of flavours and texture. Sauces and dressings are all wonderful. 
About the service, It was good, we didn't wait too long to be seated or served, but I didn't feel they make you feel special, the place was quite busy, and it seems our waitress was always in the rush and couldn't spend to much time answering questions or recommend wines to match with our meal. Dishes were brought to the table without any details or smile from our waiters. Moro is my flatmates favourite restaurant in London and I know she is very attentive to the quality of service every time she is eating out, so I guess because she has been many times, that night we didn't have probably the most motivated waitress, or she had a bad day, these thing can happen sometimes.
I will probably come back because I liked the food but I hope service will be a bit better if I book an earlier table next time on a less busy night. 

34 Exmouth Market
EC1R 4QE London
Twitter: @RestaurantMoro
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Last week, I went to the new restaurant on Rupert Street, The Palomar. It is probably one of the best soft opening I have been to this year in London, definitely in the top 5 . The Chef at Palomar is Tomer Amedi, he is cooks dishes from Jerusalem with influences from Southern Spain, Italy, North Africa. I am really keen on this kind of food, so I was very happy when I heard about the concept.
The restaurant officially opened its door this week and is running a soft launch offer of 50% off until Saturday night.

The restaurant is divided into two different areas, tables and chairs at the back and a kitchen bar at the front near a raw bar.
My friend and I were seated at the bar, while we were looking at the menu and wine list, we were offered pickle, cabbage and carrot as an amuse bouche, follow my some homemade bread with tahini sauce.
Amuse bouche: pickle, saffron cabbage and carrot
Bread & Tahini
After hummus, tahini is probably my second favourite ingredient to enjoy just with a piece of bread.
The menu had two different categories : "Raw Bar", which is kind of starters and sides, and "Stove, Josper, Plancha" dishes which are main courses, plus some little snacks and 'The Daily' assorted mezze.
Moroccan oysters, coriander, lemon zest & harissa oil

As a starter my friend ordered two Moroccan oysters for himself and we shared an assorted mezze. All dishes from the assorted mezze were perfectly seasoned, spiced, but also they were very light.
Assorted Mezze

Beetroot & goat cheese
Beetroot and goat cheese, such a great combination, I don't remember which kind of nuts they had on top, but it added a bit of crunchiness to the dish.

Josper aubergine & tzatziki
My favourite dish in the assorted mezze was the aubergine cooked in the Josper oven. Texture was wonderful, it went very well with tzatziki. 

Labneh with olive oil & za'atar
It was the first time in my life I ate labneh, I have to say I quite liked it. The texture of the cheese is between feta and mozzarella. It was served on its own, with olive oil and za'atar. I preferred this cheese when it was served in the fattoush salad. 

Aubergine sima
I probably have an aubergine addiction at the moment, but this second dish was very tasty, the sauce and pomegranate were divine. Pomegranate had a little bit of bitterness to the dish.
Kale & feta
Finally I can say, I ate KALE !!!! Well, the dish was good, interesting combination with feta and almond, but I don't understand why everyone was so crazy and found kale amazing. It is just a cabbage after all.
Lentils & yogurt
Lentils & yogurt, very classic dish, easy to make. It is very hard to make a mistake with a dish like that. Lentils were seasoned with some spices. 

Shakshukit : deconstructed kebab with minced meat, yogurt, tahini, "the 4 tops" & leffa bread
Highlight dish of the night, the Shakshukit was divine, from the minced meat to the homemade leffa bread and to the 4 different sauce, everything was faultless. It is without doubt the best kebab I had in my life. I like the fact there tahini in it again.
Cornfed chicken: cooked in buttermilk & Jerusalem mixed spices with baby carrot & freekeh
Second main course was also very good, chicken was very tasty, with a lot of spice going on. The only disappointment was that the skin could have been a bit more crispy, but that is just my preference. Freekeh was something totally new to me, I liked the touch of sweetness provided by the sultanas. A very good dish.
Fattoush salad : tomato, cucumber, za'atar, sumac, laffa croutons & homemade labneh balls
As a side to compliment our mains, we ordered a fattoush salad, dressing and texture was perfectly balanced, a bit of softness and crunchiness. 

Basboussa : semolina cake, frozen yogurt, orange syrup, ground walnut brittle & bergamot tuile
Unfortunately on that night, not all the desserts were not available on the menu. My eyes caught the tahini ice cream, date syrup, whipped cream and fresh figs but it wasn't available. Next time... 
I had Basboussa, semolina cake was very good, I was a bit scared it will be maybe a bit dry, but it was perfect, the frozen yogurt went very well with it.

Palomar is a great new addition to the London foodie scene. I like Middle East cuisine, it reminds me all the afternoons I spent with my friend and sister in a Restaurant  : Le Cafe des couleurs we used to have in Toulouse, serving middle east dishes.
Staff was very friendly and nice, it was nice to be seated at the bar, as we were able to discuss with some of the chefs while they were cooking. Thank you Stepanka, Marco, John, Laura & Jason, for the service on that night. 
This first experience at The Palomar hasn't been enough for me, I need more... I have already planned by second visit, which will be pretty soon. I think this time I will have more dishes from the Stove, Josper, Plancha menu: Persian oxtail stew  or the polenta 'Jerusalem style'.

The Palomar
34 Rupert Street
W1D 6DN London
Twitter: @Palomarsoho
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