Summery Tel Aviv vibes will brighten up private dinners at pretty Delamina
Ottolenghi has made sure eating Eastern Mediterranean food is a happy endeavour for us Londoners. But that sort of cuisine has always had more of a lunch vibe, right? This is my problem with the whole healthy Israeli thing: it doesn’t quite feel right for night-time eating. Lots of lovely starters when what you’re really after is a knock-out main. It’s the same with the Italian breakfast – a bit neglected.
Dinner at Delamina
then was going to be a quiet affair. A few nostalgic expats chasing the rattan-chair dream of an al fresco dinner in balmier climes than these.
Wrong. At 8pm when I walked in, it was packed. And according to one of its noticeably friendly staff, they’d been flat out since the soft launch 10 days previous. ‘Must be the location,’ I thought: foodie-filled Marylebone above, restaurant-wasteland Oxford Street below. This was just a bit of clever positioning.
Wrong again. Those forgettable mains I mentioned were, in fact, the stars of the show. Shining brightest was the whole charcoal-grilled poussin, deboned and glazed in a sweet and spicy honey and ras-el-hanout mix. The veggie-proud starters were, true to form, good too, with the halved and charred cauliflower – covered in lemony crème fraiche, decorated with pomegranate seeds – proving a dark-horse hit.
Downstairs is the spot for events. You can have the run of the whole floor, which can be booked for 40 people seated. Otherwise, there’s a little not-that-private dining area down there too. The east-Mediterranean-meets-shabby-chic decor (apparently inspired by the co-owner’s childhood home in Tel Aviv) runs throughout the property. Picture a palate ranging from sand to stone, with hanging baskets strategically arranged to blur the lines between an in and outdoor atmosphere.
If formal restaurants make you sit up straight and mind your manners, Delamina invites you to lean in, chat liberally and gesticulate at will. Something to think about when considering your boss’s guest list. Otherwise, just make sure they know there’s more to the place than lunch.
56-58 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NX | 020 3026 6810
Exclusive hire 40
Semi-private dining 8