Part of the Minzon Restaurant Group
After conquering the world with his Minzon restaurants, located in Israel, USA, France, Australia, and finally London this year, Eyal Shani has brought a new full-service restaurant to London. Lilienblum, located just off the Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch, is a fun ode to Tel-Aviv.
As we enter off the street, we come to a warm lobby, with friendly staff who greet you with a smile. There is a focus on some bold colours throughout the restaurant, with teal blue, burgundy and tan faux-leather decorating the chairs and banquettes. There is also a colourful graphic mural on the ceiling, that you might miss if you don’t look up! Tables are all wrapped with brown kraft paper, and there are some decorative tomatoes to be found on each one.
The main drawcard in the space is the expansive open kitchen, formed with bar-style seating surrounding the Marble-topped counter.
There is an abundance of fresh produce, we spotted tomatoes, aubergines and bunches of herbs, on display and for the chefs to use within the dishes. The overhead gantry is also styled with elements and ingredients to be used within service. An imposing wood fire oven, clad in copper, however is the star of the show in this open kitchen.
Across the room, the bar flanks the other side of the restaurant seating area, where speciality cocktails are stirred and shaken.
The menu is poetic and lyrical, with descriptions such as “6 spicy instruments that will swirl your soul” – we are told this is a plate of sauces to complement the menu items. There are some familiar items, such as hummus and focaccia, as well and the staff are helpful when explaining the menu. The list is divided into categories, including: bread, vegetable creatures, wild fish and others, and grade A cow and lamb.
We order a few items from each section; we were interested in the bread with the name “It’s a very bad idea to eat this, but there will be no regrets”. In typical Israeli-style, the portions are generous and filling, and we could have easily ordered less. The serving crockery was a really highlight, with many floral vintage plates being used to complement the vibrant food. Our personal favourite was the aptly named “And if I’m not wrong, it’s the best Branzino that I ever ate, the roasted one”. Served in a Le Creuset Casserole dish, flaming and whole at the table, with vegetables absorbing and imparting their flavour into the dish this is a spectacle to behold.
We finally ended on Matok – the Hebrew word for sweet, with an incredibly rich Basque cheesecake and
chocolate mousse. The food was incredibly flavourful and not too heavy, and the staff were so pleasant, with no rushing or urgency, and made us feel so welcome the whole time. We will be back to try more!