Tabun Kitchen is a Palestinian restaurant located at the heart of Soho. Recently, they have redesigned and refurbished their space, as well as a revamped menu.
After the renovation, the interiors now reflect a mixture of classic Palestinian design and modern European bistro. It has a really chilled and laid-back vibe. It has a bar at the front and small tables closely packed along the wall like a busy bistro in Europe. Yet it has all these vibrant Palestinian decors that adds a lot more colours and charisma to the place.
In this Taster Mezze, we managed to get a little taste of everything:
- Jerusalem Falafel – sumac onion centre
- Jerusalem Udssieh – hummus, fava beans, chilli, garlic lemon dressing
- Maftool Salad – hand rolled Palestinian durum wheat ‘cous cous’
- Freekah Salad – roast green wheat, lime, chilli dressing
- Hummus – chickpea, tahini, garlic, lemon
And of course Tabun bread is served along with the mezzes.
My favourite is the Jerusalem Udssieh, with the Hummus coming the second. If you’ve read one of my old posts about talking about hummus, you would’ve been familiar about me claiming I’m not a huge fan of hummus. However I would gladly eat those that are freshly made with quality. So the fact that my top two favourites are both hummus based ones says it all.
Firstly I must express how delightful it was to see whole tiger prawns with shells on being served in front of me. They were pretty massive in size and were glistening from the glaze made with lemon, garlic, and chilli.
Though it’s called Spicy Prawns, we thought it wasn’t spicy at all. There’s a subtle hint of garlic and lemon. Without any overpowering flavours, the prawn itself get to be the highlight.
This mixed grill consists marinated lamb fillet, spiced kofta, lamb chop, za’atar chicken & sujuk lamb sausage. We really enjoyed this one – the meats were juicy and succulent. My favourite was the lamb chop, which was well seasoned and flavoursome with a touch of a beautiful char-grilled taste. All other meats on the plate were well seasoned and spiced. The placement of vine tomatoes on top adds a nice touch of sophistication.
The dish consists slow-cooked lamb, rice, aubergine, pine nuts. The lamb was elegantly topped over a mound of rice, with yoghurt served on the side.
The lamb was generally tender but a bit dry at times. Flavour-wise we felt it needed more seasoning. The same goes for the aubergine – an extra pinch of salt and seasoning could help a lot. Rice was nice and fluffy, with added texture from the pine nuts. All in all it was an okay dish but we expected more.
Lamb Tahini Kofta Manaeesh
Manaeesh is basically Palestinian pizza and is very popular in Levant countries. We chose this Lamb Tahini Kofta one that’s topped with pine nuts, pomegranate, and chilli.
The lamb was juicy and the flavours were nicely rounded up by the touch of the velvety tahini and the tangy chilli sauce. However, when certain slices got more tahini on them than the others, it felt slightly overwhelming. The manaeesh was also very saucy because of the chilli sauce. Different to Italian pizzas, the sauce wasn’t dried up on the dough so it might turn out a bit messy to eat.
Knafeh is a classic Levantine dessert made with Akkawi cheese, kataifi pastry, and orange blossom syrup. It’s one of the most loved dessert and I love it an awful lot too. However, I do always worry that this dessert gets overly sweetened.
To my delight, this one from Tabun Kitchen has the right balance of sweetness. It was fresh, hot and bubbling when served on the table. Anticipating for a cheese pull shot, it sadly didn’t happen. Regardless, the flavours were great and that’s all it matters.
Tabun Kitchen‘s take on this Persian classic dessert involves a rose scented milk pudding as base, and topped with crushed pistachios plus orange blossom honey.
The milk pudding is rich, thick and creamy. The subtle fragrance of rose matched really well with the crushed pistachios. It’s all in all a mellow dessert – pleasant but relatively not memorable. For the theme and style the restaurant seem to be going for, I felt it needed a greater touch of delicacy to truly make it outstanding.
To sum it up, we thought the food at Tabun Kitchen was decent. The newly refurbished interior set a nice atmosphere for a pleasant but casual meal. In terms of service, it was lovely when it was relatively quiet, i.e. when we first arrived. However, as the night got busier, we felt a bit neglected. There didn’t seem to be a lack of staff running the restaurant on that evening so I don’t see how the service couldn’t be up to par. We’ve never visited Tabun Kitchen before its renovation so we couldn’t give a comparison on whether it improved much or not. If you’ve been, please do let us know your thoughts!
My Rating: 3.4/5
Halal Status: Halal