The restaurant biz is a tough old industry – so we were so incredibly pleased to hear that the gorgeous team behind Strut & Cluck were opening a second restaurant – Delamina – in Marylebone.
You’ll find it tucked away behind Selfridges (so a good one to remember for when you’ve shopped and need to drop) and it features the same irresistible flavours as their original location but with a slightly slicker vibe – we’re not in Shoreditch anymore Toto. The exposed brickwork has been painted bright white and there are hanging plants affixed to every inch of ceiling space. Split over two floors, upstairs is bright and airy with a holiday feel, whereas downstairs has a cosier vibe and a view of the open plan kitchen. There’s also a semi-private area available and group menus if that’s what you’re after.
Black and white family photos have been lovingly dotted about – a reminder that this is a labour of love from husband and wife dream team Limor and Amir Chen. Delamina is the sort of place where they lovely team remember you without prompting and greet you with a big bear hug (even if your last visit was months before).
Catch up complete, we dived straight into the cocktail menu, having very fond memories of the Jaffa I’ve Mist You from Shoreditch. We went for something new – the Fire & Smoke – a rosemary infused gin concoction which arrived still smoking at the table. The wine list is very affordable too – we tried a carafe of the medium-bodied white from Lebanon which was perfect with our food.
We’re just such a big fan of these flavours – lashings of yoghurt, sprinklings of paprika, charred meats, exciting veg and hearty grains – really, it’s such healthy, nutritious food that we could happily eat it every day. Everything is designed to be shared (read: fought over!) and they recommend around 5-6 dishes between two with many being naturally gluten free, or veggie friendly.
We started with the slightly spicy and super crispy okra – perfect bar snack fodder to complement our cocktails. You simply must try the Pita Balagan – the toppings change daily depending on what’s in the larder but it will always be served on the fluffiest bread and we’ve adored every combo we’ve ever tried. We couldn’t get enough of the cod, which came smothered with chermoula (a traditional herb dip) and sat atop a warm mix of giant Israeli couscous, artichokes, wild za’atar and yoghurt. Also in the running for our favourite dish was Moshe’s beef and venison koftas. The little patties came on a bed of velvety hummus and were topped with grilled onions, a drizzle of harissa oil and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. A total delight to eat – we loved every mouthful. Despite declaring I was far too full for dessert, I managed to eat at least half of the halva parfait which helpfully came in two pieces. Think of it like a rich, creamy tahini cheesecake. Heaven!
Happy and full, we found ourselves vowing to book flights to Tel Aviv, on the promise that more of this delicious food would greet us on arrival – and before we know it we’re being offered a list of recommendations for the best restaurants in town (the Chen’s hometown and inspiration for many of the dishes we enjoyed). We leave feeling part of the family.