New? It opened back in the summer.
Where? 77 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 8TH, www.tabunkitchen.com
On the Menu: Founder Hanan Kattan grew up in a Palestinian household in Jordan and she has used the recipes from her family’s archives to create a menu of Middle Eastern street food. Dishes are made for sharing and include mezze plates, lamb Makloubeh, Maneesh Palestinian pizza and grills to share.
First Impressions: It was stifling. It’s a relatively narrow space and with the added Tabun oven it was too hot. It may be a Middle Eastern restaurant but I still want the British temperatures. I only hope they have air conditioning in the summer.
The Look: Given that it’s a relatively small space, the design is kept simple. Walls are neutral, with grey, stone and sandy tones. A banquette runs the length of one wall, facing a stone counter and the Tabun oven. Colour comes from splashes of deep purple in the chairs and purple walls at the back of the room where there are more intimate booths. Tables are small, it’s more ideal for dining as a couple rather than a big group, if you want to do that then head downstairs, where you’ll find a room which is ideal for private parties. If you’re eating alone or want to people watch then there are a bar stools at the window.
What We Ate: We started with Musakhan chicken. Crisp sumac flatbread was topped with caramelised onions, pine nuts, sumac-marinated shredded chicken and sweetened with pomegranate seeds. We dipped the crusts into the hummus, which was so good that it makes any hummus I’ve had in the past pale in comparison.
Lamb Makloubeh saw golden rice, topped with spiced aubergine, cauliflower, broad beans, yoghurt, cucumber, pistachio, raisins, pine nuts and perfectly cooked tender lamb – a winning combination. A mixed grill of chicken kofta, shish taouk marinated breast and lamb kofta was served was a hearty portion, although in parts a little dry. It did come with a drop of sauce but tahini wouldn’t have gone amiss. A chunky avocado salad was freshened with tomato, coriander, lemon and garlic and a fragrant fattoush salad came not with chopped flat bread like usual but slices – which we immediately scooped up more of the hummus with.
What We Drank: We ordered a bottle of Las Condes Sauvignon Blanc, which was dry but with just enough sweetness. Had we been going for cocktails then the Spice Trip sounds exactly like our sort of thing with Havana Rum, orange juice, roquito chilli and watermelon.
Go With: Someone you like to share your food with or if you work in the area and can escape the office, then make the most of your lunch break and head over for falafel and hummus. You can also get it to take away if time is tight.
Final Word: The only thing that was a little disappointing was that all but one of the puddings had sold out, granted it was late on a Wednesday evening, but still, what happens come the weekend when it’s no doubt more busy?