Delamina: Winning formula

For a mid-market restaurant looking to tick all the right boxes, look no further than Delamina. Like many of the eateries of Tel Aviv from where the team behind this venture hail, the atmosphere is distinctly informal, but buzzing with life. Food-wise, the emphasis is on healthy and nutritious, combining the freshness of produce from the Mediterranean with the spiciness and cooking techniques (especially grilling and roasting) of the Middle East. If the Palomar and the Barbary led the way in this respect, then Delamina represents a natural evolution, more like a neighbourhood restaurant than an on-trend central London destination. Throughout, service was exemplary with no effort spared to introduce and explain the dishes and the thought process behind them. If anything, the problem is that the tables are too small to accommodate all that we ordered. Dishes are designed for sharing and the vegetable openers can be customised as mains should diners so desire. Pricing is very fair (~£8-10 for smaller options; ~£15 for larger ones), although with so much on offer, there may be a tendency to over-order. Highlights from our visit included charred cauliflower with lemon-zest infused crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses and a grilled courgette offering with pine kernels and labneh drizzle. The skill of the chefs at Delamina clearly lies in taking relatively humble vegetables and infusing them with character and flavour. The mains also pleased, particularly a whole deboned poussin glazed with ras el-hanout (a spice mix) and honey and then chargrilled, accompanied with sweet potato. The wine list impressed although it could still be considered work-in-progress as not all bottles advertised were available. Nonetheless, the Lebanese white with which we began was an inspired choice. Overall, a definite success. I have plans to return.