Chameleon London | Dine In Private, Flower-Laden Greenhouses
Somewhat ironically, Chameleon really stands out.
Because this Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant sits in quite an unusual venue. You’ll find it in the grounds of One Marylebone, a Georgian-era church, and one of the most impressive & grandiose buildings in a neighbourhood filled with impressive & grandiose buildings. It’s normally used as an events space, but the company that runs the place decided to add on a restaurant around it. As in outside, wrapping around its base. And sure, that means you don’t go inside the building itself, but it also gives you the benefit of actually being able to see it. Which is a very good thing.
Wander in past the towering hedges that separate Chameleon London from the street, and you’ll be met with two paths: to the left of you is God’s Garden, which is the casual ‘outdoor’ area. This is where Chameleon launched during the pandemic (remember all that al fresco dining?) but since then it’s been transformed into a bar area in its own right, with cosy rugs and throws, heaters, and a marquee sheltering everything from the elements. It’s pretty beautiful. Plus, like we said, you get to stare at the building.
Head to the right, and you’ll find yourself at Chameleon’s new home, the Greenhouses. There are nine of them in total, ranging from a cosy little beach-hut sized number (it’s supposed to be for four people, but it would be a real date show-stopper for two) all the way up to a 30-capacity giant. Each of them is beautiful, intimate, and verdantly arranged with real vines and flowers hanging from the ceilings that change with the seasons (hence the ‘chameleon’ part).
All the way around the back of the building are the kitchens, headed up by Israeli chef Elior Balbul. After stints as head chef in restaurants in Tel Aviv & New York, he set his sights on opening Chameleon in London in early 2020. The timing wasn’t amazing. Luckily, it gave him a full year to prepare his team and his menu of Tel Aviv-style dishes, and damn, are they good.
You’ll start with a freshly baked miniature loaf of kubbana brioche, which you can smother with dips like zhug with green chilli & tomato, or coal-roasted aubergine with goat cheese & toasted walnuts. Then, there are starters like beef tartare with harissa, or yellowtail sashimi with passionfruit. And the big stuff includes a perfectly cooked plateful of Spanish octopus with black hummus and pickled red cabbage.
Chameleon London has a bar too of course – a lovely little nook set among the greenhouses – where they’re shaking cocktails designed to go with all that that food, mostly riffing on the classics. The Old Fashioned is infused & sweetened with dates, their Collins includes a citrussy note of bergamot, and the Negroni has a little fig in it.
And, lest we forget, there is an events company at the helm, and Chameleon is but a corner piece in the jigsaw of ambitious plans they’ve assembled here. Already the courtyard hosts its own flower market, while yoga classes and gong baths take place inside the church, with plans for cinema screenings, events and more to follow. And, yes, that all sounds like a lot…
…but we’re sure it’ll all blend right in.
NOTE: Chameleon London is open now. You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Chameleon London | 1 Marylebone Road, NW1 4AQ
Like dining locally? Check out our pick of the best Marylebone restaurants
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