Chameleon in Marylebone: A little oasis in the midst of London
Located at One Marylebone in a Georgian-era church, the first thing one notices about Chameleon is the monumental backdrop and lavish surroundings. We were seated in God’s Garden, a beautiful courtyard that is fully covered with toasty heaters and blankets. This little oasis was a far cry from the busy main road just the other side of the building, and we almost forgot where we were from the moment we entered. What’s more, there was live music playing throughout the evening, which was like stepping into an alternate reality.
The food menu is made up of Tel Aviv-style fare, offering a selection of breads, dips, small dishes and bigger plates. The drinks list boasts an enticing cocktail selection, and after much deliberation we went for the refreshing God’s Garden Fizz, made with Plymouth gin, confit rhubarb, cucumber, elderflower and prosecco, and the Date Old Fashioned, made with date-infused Maker’s Mark and bitters.
We began with the Kubbana Brioche Bread with two dips – the Zhug made with green chilli, creme fraîche and crushed tomato, and the sweet harissa with white tahini, shaved tomato and za’atar. The bread really was a thing of beauty and was wonderfully buttery, light and airy: baked to perfection. It provided the ideal base for the Zhug dip, which was moreish and salty with just the right amount of spice. The harissa dip was sweet in contrast with a deep and smoky flavour that went down incredibly well.
As starters, we had the Aubergine Carpaccio with raw tahini, crispy onion, goat’s cheese and pistachio. This was perhaps my favourite dish of the night, as the delicately sliced aubergine melted in the mouth and was brought to life with satisfying sweet and nutty flavours.
We also tried the Yellowtail Sashimi with pickled beets, black quinoa and cashew yoghurt. This was full of fresh and zingy flavours with a powerful citrus kick cutting right through the dish.
The Spanish Octopus with black hummus, pickled red cabbage, harissa baby carrots and an Urfa stock was our first choice for mains. The presentation was dramatic and there were lots of contrasting flavours and textures going on, however, the octopus was a little overcooked and left a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Our meal continued with Charred Poussin Skewers; this dish, served with veal sweetbreads, freekeh and spinach yoghurt relish, was kept simple and the chicken was beautifully cooked. While sweetbreads may not be to everyone’s taste, these were seasoned well and had a rich, creamy texture that played well with the rest of the components.
For dessert, we had the Yuzu and Bergamot Curd with goat’s yoghurt, ginger, berries and sumac meringue. This was another winner for me – it was interesting, vibrant and mastered the balancing act of being just the right degree of sweet and tart.
Last but not least, the Manjari Chocolate Cremeux with cacao crumble, sesame and cardamom coffee ice cream. This was rich and silky and had an intense cacao flavour that worked perfectly with the subtle tones of the ice cream.
The setting and ambience of Chameleon is charming, to say the least, and there are some real standout dishes that aren’t to be missed. Diners looking for a casual, laid-back meal with magnificent views to boot should be sure to book a spot sooner rather than later.
Alex Julie Woods
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Chameleon, 1 Marylebone Road London NW1 4AQ, call 020 7186 2444 or visit their website here.