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Bright, airy and cosmopolitan Tabun Kitchen in Soho introduces Londoners to Palestinian cuisine
Aug 5th 2017 | Written by Baldwin Ho

Bright, airy and cosmopolitan Tabun Kitchen in Soho introduces Londoners to Palestinian cuisine

Tabun Kitchen derives its name from the tabun ovens that are popular in Palestinian households, which have been used all the way back in the biblical times (unlike the other definition of tabun, which is a toxic nerve gas used by Nazi Germany during World War II….).

The restaurant floor space isn’t particularly large, but their recent refurbishments have made it look remarkably light and spacious and in fact, it can hold up to 60 guests seated. The colours are vibrant and modern including framed prints inspired by Palestinian embroidery. For famous entrepreneur and film producer Hanan Kattan who owns Tabun Kitchen, this clearly is a labour of love for him, as a tribute to his Palestinian heritage.

Their cuisine is very similar to others in the Levant region; we picked starters which would be ideal dishes for dipping with their thin and freshly baked tabun bread. Hummus had the right percentage of chickpea, tahini, lemon, garlic, which tasted creamy although it could have been marginally smoother. I would highly recommend the moutabal, which had refreshingly chilled aubergine that had an inviting smokiness and also had tahini and lemon. Both dishes are the ideal starters in the warm summer months.

For the main course, I ordered the tabun grill, which is a meat feast delight for those with a healthy appetite. Normally these dishes are unappetisingly presented, but here they try to make it into an art work. The meats do vary in terms of their success, sujuk sausages could have been spicier, however, the marinated lamb fillet and spiced kofta tasted of flavoursome exoticism. The dish was relatively lukewarm rather than hot, which is always the problem with mixed meat main courses, as the different components have different cooking times.

Falafel Mezze Salad was served with 5 generous portions of Jerusalem falafel balls, more of the luscious moutabal, hummus and tabbouleh. It was very filling as a vegetarian dish, but probably not a dish I would recommend if you have already ordered something similar for the starters.

We simply had no room left to try the wonderful sounding desserts, but there are some great options: Muhulabieh with rose-scented milk pudding and Knafeh, which contains akkawi cheese, kataifi pastry and orange blossom syrup.

This is a restaurant which is a breath of fresh air in the Soho dining scene and demands repeated visits for you to try their full menu.

baldwin@townfish.com

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