This is so much more than a restaurant; Chameleon is a new eatery come multi-experiential space, that’s recently taken over One Marylebone – a beautiful grade I listed building. Chameleon serves a delicious Tel Avivan style sharing menu, curated by critically-acclaimed Israeli chef, Elior Balbul, which is available for dinner and brunch on weekends – it’s a real sensation for the tastebuds. For a true Mediterranean feel, customers can enjoy their food al fresco, in the beautiful garden, named ‘God’s Garden’, or for a more private affair, book one of nine incredible greenhouses. And don’t worry about rain, the garden is well covered.
Chameleon is sharing the space with events company, One Events. Having hosted events in the exclusive building for over 10 years, One Events will continue to bring art exhibitions, weddings and much more to the customers of One Marylebone.
For those who don’t want the night to finish at dinner, later in the year, Chameleon will also be opening a private club, in the vaults under the church. Though you may have to sweet talk someone, as entry is on an ‘in the know’ or ‘friend of a friend’ basis.
Another addition to this already excelling space is regular entertainment from live DJ’s and artists. Also to come are cinema nights, which will take place in the garden. Cosy seating, blankets, popcorn and delicious cocktails are all included.
As you can expect, One Marylebone is a stunning history-rich building. You can’t miss it walking down the street, with the tall stern, towering high above the tree-lined grounds. Inside, the architecture is incredibly opulent, with huge chandeliers and big floor to ceiling windows.
On the west side of the building is the entrance to God’s Garden. But first, customers must walk through the beautiful flower market, curated by Jason Poole and Alexandra Watson – the duo behind Artistically Twisted.
Walking through the flower market takes you to a speakeasy-style entrance, adorned with flowers once again, and into God’s Garden. The garden is a mix of relaxed, lounge seating and dining tables. It’s vibrant, glamorous – just what you’d expect from a fine-dining spot in Marylebone. At night, it’s softly lit and feels cosy.
As recommended, we started with the Kubbana Brioche Bread and an array of Israeli dips: lots of spice, aubergine, creme fraiche and smokey flavours. The bread was served warm. It was buttery and soft, demolished in minutes by myself and my dining partner for the evening, as we plunged it into the dips. We washed it down with a Negroni – in my opinion, the only way to start a meal.
We then moved onto the ‘Smalls’, another sharing selection of plates. Our dishes included: Chargrilled Pumpkin with date molasses, raw tahini & baby fennel, Beef Tartare, which actually looked more impressive than it tasted – the beef was a little too finely chopped and it got lost in the vast amount of other ingredients on the dish. Yellowtail Sashimi was a winner: Fruity, fresh and served with passionfruit, mango and creme fraiche. Alongside this, we also had the Aubergine carpaccio, served with raw tahini, goats cheese and pistachios. I recommend getting this alongside the pumpkin dish, as the flavours work brilliantly together.
Next, we selected two dishes from ‘Plates’, which are much larger portions. I’d had my eye on the Spanish Octopus with black hummus, pickled red cabbage and Urfa stock for a while and it didn’t disappoint. The octopus was beautifully cooked and very generously portioned. The stock was quite thick, rich, different from anything I’ve had before but equally as wonderful, if not better. We also shared the Lamb Saddle, with cabbage & spring green gratin, smashed potatoes and morels. While it was delicious and beautifully cooked, I wouldn’t choose these dishes together again as they were just too rich alongside each other.
Stuffed to the brim, we just about managed one dessert between us, sharing a wonderfully refreshing plate of fresh fruits, sorbet and meringue – the perfect way to finish our meal. To drink, we shared a bottle of traditional Israeli white wine. It had notes of honey, similar in characteristics to a chardonnay – a very good one!
As we ate, there was live music playing in the lounge area, and occasionally a violinist would walk through the seating area, playing as she went. It really added to the full experience.
In a nutshell
Chameleon has so much to give. It’s the type of place that you don’t feel satisfied going to just once – and how often do you say that about a restaurant? I’d happily go for pre or post-dinner drinks, relaxing in the lounge area, cocktail in hand, and watching the live band.
Come summer, Chameleon is turning the floral garden into a tropical-style beach club. This is certainly one to watch.
1 Marylebone road, London, NW1 4AQ 0207 186 2444