We were caught in Sabbath in Jerusalem, and to say the city sleeps during Sabbath is an understatement - the city shuts down, even public transport stops running. Our hotel told us things would start opening again around 7pm, so we drove back to Mahane Yehuda market, hoping to find recommended eats like Rachmo - all firmly closed.
Around 9pm we saw a couple of bars and restaurants waking up, including the renowned Machneyuda. Despite knowing they have a crazy waiting list, I rocked up with a hopeful grin to ask if they have any availability. The answer was obviously no, but the lady did suggest we try their sister restaurant across the road, a cute open kitchen that doesn't even have a name. Got our names down for 9:45pm - when it opens.
Good thing we had our names down too as a crowd started to gather and queues began to form. Before we knew it the place was buzzing and wines and cocktails started flowing. I chose a refreshing watermelon-based cocktail as we studied the menu:
Beef Tataki, glass noodles and Sareache sauce, oh yeah
Mister particularly enjoyed the kicks from the hot sauce, which went well with the vermicelli lightly dressed in soy sauce. The thick cuts of beef was gently seared on the outside to leave a ruby, rare centre, packed with bovine richness.
Arab spring fish tartar with spicy watermelon soup and whipped Brinza cheese
My tartar was equally impressive with cubes of diced fatty fish and crunchy vegetable dressed with the most tantalising watermelon juice that was nicely balanced by the whipped cheese cream.
Livers, cauliflower cream, wine sauce
This could be the best liver dish I have ever tasted; the slab of liver was just cooked to avoid the dry, grainy textures, instead it was smooth, almost creamy with powerful flavours. The slight bitterness of the creamy cauliflower was the perfect match.
Black label Risotto with mussels, Calamari heads, asparagus, artichoke, Saffron
The squid ink risotto was absolutely packed with seafood - bouncy squid, plump mussels, slithery fish fillets. It was a plateful of oceanic bliss.
Do you know cheese cake? Better!
Cookie, chocolate and ice cream
Never could I imagine a bigger oreo cookie, sandwich with vanilla ice cream. Got a bit too much towards the end though.
It was such a delightful find. The vibe was incredible, the food was modern and the service was most friendly. We were looked after by the sous-chef in charge of the appetiser station, she was simply charming - made great recommendations, cute chats, forced limoncello down our throats, and even held up a metallic board as a reflector as I snap away photos. The food was more modern European than Israeli, and definitely up there in terms of execution and creativity. Loved it.
יודל'ה בר ליד השוק (click on the first one under sister's)
Beit Yakov 11
Tel: +972 2-533-3442