Friday, January 10, 2014

Messa (Tel Aviv) New Years Eve 2013

This is a highly regarded restaurant and you have only to walk through the door to get an inkling why. 
The place is stunning with a large central communal table 
and up two small steps, a long balcony with large tables that comfortably seat six. 
The floor is white marble and the tables are veneered with pink marble creating a lavish, over the top luxurious image. Ceiling lights are cloaked in modern style, in capacious petticoats.
The menu, created by Chef Aviv Moshe comes in a four page booklet with glowing comments inside the front page and a rather romantic and poetic but not inappropriate expression of the chef’s sentiments inside the back page.
Inspired by memorable moments I will repeat his remarks here.
“The passion of a lover’s embrace
A mysterious woman glimpsed in semi profile
The aromas wafting from Mother's kitchen
Winter in the Jerusalem mountains
The soft tones of a saxophone echoing in the memory.
Messa is the realization of a dream for Moshe and we get a chance here to be part of his dream.
The menu offered 10 entrees and eight main courses. It is currently very roughly NIS3 per A$
Oysters with granita of lemon, lemongrass and Shata pepper sounded expensive at about $10 each but I saw them in a supermarket, unshucked at about $8 so in that environment they were very reasonable.
The most striking entree was a foie gras surprise NIS96. A good size piece of seared fresh goose liver with several little dips, decorated with edible flowers. It was a beautifully executed and presented dish.
Shrimp ravioli, blue crab bisque and Tonka foam was another super entree, delicate and flavoursome a mere NIS 98.
Every dish was complex, blended tastes admirably and looked enticing. Here portobello with fresh corn polenta, poached egg, parmesan and truffle oil.
Bread was served with se.veral dips, as is common in Israel.
 Main courses were equally impressive. Jumbo shrimp, vanilla and citrus sauce, gnochi and macadamia nuts, NIS 218 was, I'm told, excellent.
Caramelized drum fish, chestnut ravioli, Yuzu cream and snow peas, NIS 218, was the most popular dish at our table, for good reason. Well prepared, and it was, this is a magnificent fish reminiscent of cod in the way the flesh flakes but much finer in texture and taste.

Lamb chops with lemon fondue, fennel and avocado salad with chili potato cream, NIS 224, had each chop standing in a glass at the bottom of which resided the surprising slightly sweet sauce.

A banana based dessert showed less imagination

and a chocolate mousse was too rich for any one person to finish.

 Chef Moshe uses advanced cooking techniques as he attempts to be daring and innovative, to present food in sensuous and exciting form allowing ingredients to display a unique blend of flavours and textures. To a large degree he succeeds.

Score:17 /20

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