Twenty-four. That’s how many outdoor seats there are at the new branch of this popular Israeli joint, which has a plum spot in Soho’s Kingly Court. In winter, they also have covers and the heaters are ‘intense’ (their words). The next best thing? A £4 dessert of dark chocolate shards, thin and angular, like broken glass. Attached to it were barnacles of dusty dehydrated tahini (surprisingly un-sesame-ish, but deliciously salty), plus shrivelled sour cherries. Divine.
Two other dishes passed muster: a sweet, soft aubergine piled high with creamy labneh, crunchy chickpea and zhoug (a verdant herb paste) and tentacles of soft charred octopus, again with labneh but also with crushed pistachio and orange.
But too much of the meal, though fine, lacked oomph. The whole roasted cauliflower was a little soggy. The hot flatbread a little doughy. And when I looked around, it made sense. This second site looks – and feels – like a chain restaurant. A nice one: the kind you’d go to with a pal, for a long overdue catch-up. It’s all very pleasant: shades of teal and dusky rose, funky-but-not-too-loud music, polite middle-class youngsters waiting the tables. But hey, sometimes ‘fine’ can be, well, fine. Especially if it’s a nice day.