Tuesday, November 29, 2011

C2 Bar Restaurant (Tel Aviv) 11/2011

Perhaps the finest venue for a restaurant in Tel Aviv C2 occupies the 49th floor of one of TA's tallest buildings. One half is kept for receptions, the rest has a bar and restaurant with 360 degree views over the city. Here is a small section.The light was misty when we were there but with the naked eye the views were fabulous and would be even better art night. They have a common arrangement for lunch here. In one corner there is a basin for the orthodox to wash their hands and pray before eating.Choose a main course which determines the price of your meal and add an entree of your choice. Desserts are NIS20.We tried three entrees. Bruscetta with carpaccio of beef, a bean soup and a salad. They were simple dishes nicely presented. Three different breads were also offered with olive paste, tahina and another mayonnaise like spread. For mains I had goose which is quite popular here but rarely seen in Australia. It was a large piece of leg and thigh. A much firmer meat than chicken or turkey, it had been well prepared. It was brought to the table before we finished entrees so, without hesitation, the waitress removed it and instead of reheating it later brought a new serve! A fillet of fish, which I have been especially enjoying here was presented without frills. Very good too. When the chef, Artur Builder, learnt that we run this blog, one can hardly take all these pic's without being noticed, he insisted on sending out a selection of desserts. A large bowl of fruit and ice cream, a chocolate cake an with an Italian meringue, a banana custard in layers of pastry with a toffee cap.This is a great place for a business lunch and would be a most romantic setting in the evening.
Score: 13.75/20

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Derby Bar (Herzylia Marina) 11/2011

Tourists and locals were out in force on this cool sunny late November afternoon. Shopping, sitting, strolling drinking and eating. There wass a continual queue at the string of harbour side restaurants but we had to wait only a few moments for our reserved table to be available. Chen, (Charm), our gorgeous waitress with the most astonishing almost transparent blue eyes produced a tray and unloaded dish after dish of salads and dips. They included tabouli, deep fried cauliflower, pickled coleslaw, beets, tahina or sesame paste, crumbed deep fried egg plant, creamed white caviar with onions, cucumber and tomato salad, a pink lightly pickled herring and a hot eggplant dip with two sorts of bread. This is all included in the cost of the main courses which mostly range from about NIS85 to NIS105 (A$22 to $30). It was all as fresh as you could ever want, the flavours and textures were quite distinct providing a plentiful and varied entree. Mains offered pasta and meat dishes as well as a variety of fillets or whole fish. We both selected oven roasted sea bream which came, covered in a scattering of roast garlic on a bed of sauteed onion and a lime with a separate dish of roast potatoes. We might have had it baked or deep fried. It was superbly simple and simply superb. It was easy to avoid the bones and there was plenty of fine white delicate flesh. Thinking about it again makes my mouth water! Most of the desserts were about A$10 and looked very appealing. We settled on sharing a cream malabi with rose water. This is a sweet almond milk pudding which had a nuanced balance of flavour despite it's sweetness, which we loved. have included Claudia Roden's recipe. Pudding, Almond (Malabi) Source: Claudia Roden's "Middle Eastern Cooking"
Serves: 6
5 cups milk
75 gr.(2-1/2 oz.) sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. ground rice (just grind some rice at your blender)
75 gr.(2-1/2 oz.) blanched ground almonds
1 tsp. almonds essence
Garnish with (one or more from the list):
Mint leaves
Rosewater syrup
Ground coconut
Ground almonds
Ground peanuts

Bring milk to a slow boil with sugar and salt.

Stir cornstarch and ground rice with 4 tablespoons water to a smooth mixture. Stir mixture into milk while stirring to prevent clumps. Continue to cook while stirring until it thickens. Then, remove pot to the lowest flame, and go on cooking for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in ground almonds and cook 15 minutes more. Stir in almond essence and remove from heat. Pour into a serving bowl or personal bowls.

Serve chilled.

Syrup, Rosewater Source: Sherry Anski: Food of Israel
Serves: varies

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 drops rose water extract

Pour water and sugar into a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for another 20 minutes.

Toward the end of cooking, add the food coloring, allow to cool, add lemon juice and rose water extract and mix. To serve, turn each jellied malabi out on a plate and pour a generous serving of red syrup over it. Sprinkle nuts over it and serve.

We particularly enjoyed a bottle of local Merlot Single (A$22), whatever that means.

This unpretentious restaurant serves excellent food at a very reasonable price. They have some inside dining space as well as a large outdoor area. We recommend it.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Manta Ray (Tel Aviv) 11/2011

There is something about beach restaurants that is especially appealing at sunset or when one sees the rolling waves and beach activities or even at night if there are lots of lights about but, unfortunately none of these things applied when we ate at Manta Ray last night. It does have a marine atmosphere without trying too hard. The signage is a canvas sheet with the restaurant name stuck on the wall! Shaped a bit like a ship it has wooden posts supporting the ceiling with lanterns hanging from them. The floor is bare, wide wood planks with plenty of fresh air, for us cold drafts. Decor is extremely simple featuring a lot of wood. Table settings include linen cloths and napkins. Here our friends pay rapt attention to our scintillating conversation.It was close to full but service was reasonably prompt with explanations as needed. The menu is in Hebrew and English. They are noted for their appetizers. A waitress arrived with a tray with a dozen small entrees NIS19 or about A$6.50 ea. and magnificent foccaccio hot bread with butter or oil and balsamic vinegar We selected four entrees, prawns in a spinach mango salad, a ceviche, an eggplant dip almost like a mousse and a parsley salad with eggplant and nuts. Other options included fresh sardines, deep fried tofu with beets a tuna salad other salads. They do have meat on the menu but one hardly comes to a fish restaurant for that. We had no hesitation in ordering the baked whole blue bream with haloumi cheese, endives, olive paste, a small sweet roasted red pepper and baby tomatoes on the vine. The other main we tried was a large fillet of very fresh and moist groper with the finest gnocchi which had been lightly pan fried with cashews in a superb lemon butter coriander sauce. The bream is a little bony but, with care, the flesh can be separated from almost all the bones, which are quite small. The flesh was fit for a king with a subtle flavour, Dessert was a deconstructed kadaiff which worked really well. The pastry was crisp, the sorbet, one with honey flavour, the other with a little fruit in it, countered with slivered almonds and little cubes of jelly and sweet figs made a beaut combination which we enjoyed looking at as well as eating.We enjoyed a bottle of Israeli wine, a Binyamin 07 Reserve shiraz, which seemed very inexpensive at about A$38A simple appropriate venue for the good food they serve.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goocha (Tel Aviv) 11/2011

Goocha occupies a busy corner on Dizengoff St in the heart of Tel Aviv. It is guarded by a chunky fellow who only allows patrons to to enter with the permission of a hostess. After waiting a few minutes I found myself barred from entry by this fellow as the rest of our group were shown to a table, evidently he thought I didn't belong there! It was close to full with patrons seated at crowded bare tables both inside and in an enclosed area on the footpath. Menus are available in both Hebrew and English and waiters were also quite fluent in English.
They offer a lunch time deal, even at 3.00 in the afternoon, consisting of a main course of your choice, at the listed price, and an entree, for an extra New Israeli Shekel (NIS) 12 which is about A$3.. They also have a small wine list with a 25% reduction during the day.
Service was prompt, ice water came immediately, and orders were filled promptly. We started with roasted eggplant, crispy calamari and a green salad which was a large plate filled with lettuce leaves, and a plate of thick sliced bread. Every thing was well prepared. The calamari were lightly crumbed, crisp and tender
and the eggplant pleasingly spiced, accompanied by fetta cheese and some greens. Mains were substantial. A huge fillet of cod on a mashed potato base was perfectly prepared, A pasta with seafood was offered with a lobster pick and very effective cracker for the claws. There was half a crab buried under the substantial pile of pasta which also had baby octopus, small but exceptionally good muscles, calamari and clams in it. Another pasta dish of seafood and goose breast was equally substantial and satisfying. We enjoyed an Israeli wine reduced to about A$40.It was an extremely good lunch. Inexpensive at A$100 for four entrees and four mains, substantial and satisfying for quality as well as quantity. Still on guard.Score: 14/20

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shangri La Breakfast (Kowloon) 11/2011

Breakfast at Shangri La's Cafe KOOL, is quite the opposite to its namesake, a utopia, where everything is wonderful, where people remain young and happily live forever. It's not cool, it's chaotic. Lots of people move from tables to food stations and back again and lots of waiters, table clearers and other aficionado’s hurry and scurry about trying to please the patrons.Food is set out in about ten sections. Dumplings with a variety of sauces, tea marinated hard boiled eggs, Chinese cuisine, that is things like fried rice, noodles with mushrooms and seafood, bok choy, sliced pork, parsnip cakes and so on, a chef cooking fresh noodle soups in chicken or meat broth, a variety of unusual terrines, including pigs ears, ox in jelly, marinated tofu and Japanese pickles,a separate area has sushi and other Izakaya.There is an Indian section, next to it a chef cooks omelettes to order, an English breakfast section with hash browns, French toast, sausages, bacon and baked tomatoes is adjacent to that. Another station has pastries on one side and cut fruit on the other. Another station has cold cuts smoked salmon on one side next to a sushi bar. There are also banks of fruit juices and waiters serve tea and coffee at the tables.There is a Deli KOOL where pastries and ice creams can be purchased.and they also promote a wine buffet where, presumably, you can indulge in a variety of wine until you can no longer walk to the table!If variety equaled quality this would be outstanding. Indeed some things are very good but they have a lot of deficiencies. Because there is so much food everywhere popular items sometimes run out and it is some time until they are replaced whilst others stay too long and become dry and unappealing. Here, for example, some tired fish.The sliced pork was the worst offender. It is hard to convince the omelette chef not to overcook the eggs. Some of the sushi also became dry and hardened. None of the Danish pastries retained any crispness

It would be an improvement if less of each item was put out at a time and things were replaced more frequently. A table menu for cooked items, like eggs Benedict, would save them lying about too long before being eaten. Here a a few more, not very interesting pic's.

If it’s not included in your room tariff you can have all this for about A$40 from about 06.30 until 10.30 every morning.

Score: 13/20