Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Samarkand (Or Yehud) 12/2011

Bokhara, where the owners of this restaurant come from, reminds most people of hand made rugs. It is a province next to Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, on the Silk Road that connects China to the Mediterranean. Until the soviet union disintegrated they were a Russian satellite and their cuisine bears considerable resemblance to Russian cuisine. The place is spacious with good size tables, with simple settings. We expected this to be the real deal as the food was prepared by the young grandmother of the family many of whom work in the restaurant. Food wise it has had a lot of modification under Israeli and Arabic influence. The restaurant is heavily decorated with Uzbeki themes but otherwise it could have been Turkish, Arabic or Israeli. They gave us a round bread to tear apart as required.The meal started with the usual salads followed by several meat dishes including boureki which are baked or more usually fried phyllo or flaky pastry with a variety of fillings (meat, cheese, vegetables), in a variety of shapes. We enjoyed the mince meat filled ones here. They also serve manti something like a large Shanghai dumpling but with a different sort of pastry. Another plate of very tasty, nicely seasoned, soup with dumplings, much like a Chinese soup, came next. This was beginning to feel like a serious gastric challenge. We then had an especially scrumptious marinated small chicken which had been bisected and flattened for quicker cooking on their BBQ. Two plates of different rice, one with pieces of meat, vegetables and herbs,the other with mince and herbs made this a mammoth meal. Fortunately they were happy to box up the left overs for us to take home. A half bottle of a very good vintage Gamla wine proved irresistible. Another now not unexpected success.Not haute cuisine but honest robust food that anyone could enjoy.
Ready for action!

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