Thursday, May 3, 2018

An Israeli Tasting Menu at the Remodeled Hilton Tel Aviv Terrace

An Israeli Tasting Menu celebrating the 70th Independence Day is offered as of today for a month at the Hilton Tel Aviv Lobby Bar. The lobby terrace overlooking the beach was remodeled recently. The menu features “7 courses for 70 years” meal and signature cocktails! The menu is one of changing concept meals offered at the lobby on special events.
Chef Rafik Jabarin - Israeli Tasting Menu . photo:PR

We arrived at the lobby’s terrace of Hilton Tel Aviv at dusk. The terrace spans over around 1000 square meters and is overlooking the beach. It is great to sit and watch the sunset. The Turkish architect Sinan Kafadar (who designed the Waldorf Astoria) redesigned the terrace and the result is a contemporary wooden floor, sunshades and garden furniture with marble tables and appealing seating areas. The lobby bar serves here dairy food to the hotels’ guests and visitors.

The remodeled Terrace - photo: PR
Celebrating 70 years of Israeli Independence, Chef Rafik Jabarin, Hilton’s executive chef, created a 7 course concept menu of Israeli food fusing Mediterranean and Arab cuisine. The menu is a dairy fish menu. It is offered for 60$ (or 70$ including one cocktail). Here’s the menu:

Homemade Buns with Dips
Yogurt with Crushed Tomato / Olive Oil with Garlic Confit / Zucchini Spread with Labneh Cheese
Jerusalem Style Fish Tartar
with Tahini, Goat’s Yogurt, Sumac & mint
Eggplant Caviar
 Hame’iri local cheese & Eggplant French fries
Grey Mullet Shawarma
 on a Toasted Pita Bread, Tahini Msabbaha & Spicy Tomato Salsa
Tabule Salad
with Falafel & Labneh Cheese with Za’atar
Fish and Eggplant Seniya
with Tomato Sauce
with Citrus syrup
After sitting comfortably, we had the house wine. It is called Aromatic and has a very attractive price. But if you are interested in better Israeli wines, they have a unique wine station that keeps a few bottles fresh for up to two months and therefore offer 14 different Israeli wines by the glass. This is a wonderful opportunity to try some food wines from boutique Israeli wineries!

Homemade Buns with Dips

A small loaf of warm soft bread, slightly crunchy outside with sesame seeds and grains, served with 3 dips: Yogurt with Crushed Tomato, Olive Oil with Garlic Confit, and Zucchini Spread with Labneh Cheese. I especially enjoyed the zucchini spread since I never had anything like it.

Jerusalem Style Fish Tartar

A kind of Kibbeh Nayyeh rich with flavors, served with Tahini, Goat’s Yogurt, Sumac & mint. I loved the way the Sumac blended here and twisted it up!

Eggplant Caviar Hame’iri local cheese & Eggplant French fries

This plate (like the rest of the dishes, but maybe more) is beautifully presented. I wouldn’t think about caviar, more about a cake! The eggplant had a slightly smoked taste and a pleasant residual taste – like good wine. The cheese brought some savory taste and the chips (British – crisps) crunchiness. By the way, all the courses were served in impressive grey clay dishes.

Grey Mullet Shawarma on a Toasted Pita Bread, Tahini Msabbaha & Spicy Tomato Salsa. 

From all the dishes, this wasn’t my cup of tea. It is very Israeli and middle eastern, but I’m not a big fan of Shawarma and its spices.

Tabule Salad with Falafel & Labneh Cheese with Za’atar

A stunning dish. A huge green falafel ball – so full of herbs and made the way I like it – tender and melts in the mouth. The Tabule contained a lot of parsley too. The Labneh was sour as it should be and we wiped it (Lenagev in Hebrew) with the falafel and the bread.

Fish and Eggplant Seniya with Tomato Sauce

If I had to pick an award winning plate from this 7 course menu this would be it! It was more like fish Mousaaka - so yummy and silky! Excellent!

Knafeh with Citrus syrup

We loved this Knafeh. It wasn’t too sweet and was spread with a generous amount of pistachio. A small bowl of sugar-rose water was served together with it so that we were able to adjust the sweetness – a fabulous idea!

Together with dessert we also tasted petit fours of patisserie chef Idan Hadad, you can read about his cakes more in the article: Idan Hadad’s cakes.
They served here printed coffee using a unique coffee printer.

We also tried the new cocktails that were created for the 70th celebration:
THE INDEPENDENCE MULE Belvedere Vodka, Lime, Ginger Beer, Apricot Syrup, Almond Syrup.

MARGARITA 70 Patron Silver, Patron Lime, Lychee Liqueur, Pomegranate Juice, watermelon syrup.
I loved the Margarita 70, the presentation and the acidity that balances the watermelon sweetness and the cheese. The Independence Mule was a bit sparkling so it did not appeal to me as much; however, my partner enjoyed it.
We also tried a free style cocktail that the friendly bartender prepared for us.

The Israeli tasting menu will be served until mid-June. Stay tuned, they plan more concept tasting menus to be served later this summer!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Hilton

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