Let's Eat

Shalom to XO's special menu

Matzah ball ramen soup has proven to be a hit at a Belsize Park eatery


Trendy Asian fusion restaurant XO in Belsize Park, NW3, is not the first place you’d go to for matzah ball soup, but it is one of the most popular items on their new Shalom XO menu.

“We know we have many local Jewish clients,” explains XO’s marketing director Alice Skladmann. “We wanted to create something different for them. There seems to be a craving for Middle Eastern cuisine right now and we developed the dishes with this in mind.”

The menu aims to give a haimishe twist to the well-established Asian fusion theme. Skladmann — herself Jewish and with Ashkenazi Russian parents — developed it with XO’s executive chef Aaj Fernando.

Sri Lankan Fernando was delighted to step up to the challenge: “I trained at Nobu under an Israeli chef, who taught me about her local dishes and it was always my dream to bring together Middle Eastern or Jewish cuisine, with what I know — Asian cooking,” he says.

The menu is a Tel Aviv-Tokyo mash -up: soba noodle salad with tiny squares of silken tofu, shitake mushrooms and edamame beans; crispy rice salmon bagel, — a crunchy galette of sauted rice topped with sashimi salmon, avocado and nori. Tahini salmon is tempered by a refreshing and colourful taboulleh salad. Yafo eggplant is roasted with a miso paste, and chicken meatballs are paired with a tangy, teriyake dipping marinade.

“Clients love our matzo ball ramen — which we serve with a poached egg in it — they call it ‘a hug in a bowl’,” says Skladmann.

Originally created for lunchtimes, the Shalom XO menu has been such a success that it made it to their evening menu.

“We weren’t sure how our regulars would react, but they love it” she says. “We have more in the pipeline but currently we are developing the Ricker Reuben.”

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