A disclaimer: I’ve been waiting for a place like the Tabun Kitchen for ages. Because I love Middle Eastern food but in London it seems to have settled down into a comfortable culinary rut of mezze, falafels and wraps. But then along comes this brand-new Palestinian place (which is cool in itself because there are so few restaurants from that region in London) and it ups the stakes with some great cooking.
We started with some grilled halloumi, which is always a great test because it’s so easy to get wrong, but this was soft and salty, without a hint of chewiness, and backed with a sesame and cabbage salad. And this was a trick they pulled off all over the menu, taking classic dishes and improving them. The falafels came with a melting, sumac and onion centre while the cous cous was a jumbo variety, nicely spiced with pomegranate. And the mains had the same attention to detail. The shredded sumac chicken came on a bed of caramelised onions and pine nuts, and the prawns, perfectly cooked, came with snackish sumac crisps.
Add some great drinks (especially the pomegranate lemonade) and even a decent set of desserts – not usually a middle-eastern high point – and you have a lovely addition to the Soho dining scene and a game-changer for the tired old mezze-and-falafel eateries.
Where: 77 Berwick St, W1F 8TH
Travel: Oxford Circus tube