No, no justice in the world. The occasion was my birthday. The choice, to celebrate at le relaisjaffa was mine. But the best dishes (in an all celebration meal) were his.
Without mistaking once, he managed to choose exactly the dishes that every byte of them is a purified pleasure, at least that’s what his countenances told, since he hardly let me taste any!
It started from the appetizer. I was deliberating between a tomato soup on beef sauce and a mushroom pastry with basil. With a light mind on my wallet, I allowed myself both, which were generous and held rich flavors. He, in the contrary, was satisfied with only the Tart provincial, which one byte of sent me to the waitress to find out what is it assembled of: French dough base, balsamic based onion jam on it, baked tomatoes in herbs and on top, a single mushroom soaked in balsamic and roasted on the grill, with a quantro based sauce melting on everything.
No doubt, this dish represents the restaurants outlook: classic, well-invested dishes, made of the best materials. Here, they did not fall for the occasional trends or the "noble cuisine" spirit.
The place continuously serves its' flag dishes year after year, in the same high level of quality.
In the main dishes, we almost evened: me, with fua gra in raisins and cognac (very politically incorrect, I know, but delicious!) fat slices of fua gra, scorched form the outside and melting from the inside with a sweet sauce, and him with a great dish of grilled goose leg in all - kinds - of berries sauce. Both dishes were served with baked potatoes and stir-fried vegetables, a tasty side dish that doesn’t still the show from the main one.
I was debating with myself again when we reached the desserts: hot chocolate fondant with ice cream or Halva parfait as the waitress recommended? Ok, make it both and the hell with the diet! You only have a birthday once a year!
So, what does my counter aid do? Order himself a Mallabi, which, because of the kosher restrictions is made of coconut milk, which, makes it a unique delicacy with no comparison to my desserts.
The restaurants kashruth thing demands a reference. Here, it's not about finding cheap substitutes for butter, cream and dairy. It's about creating a rich and varied menu, based on dishes that don’t demand using those products. The tastes are reached by using the beef sauce, alcoholic drinks, vegetables and herbs. Considering the level of investment in the food, the prices are surprisingly considerable: about 40 shekels for an appetizer, 100 shekels for the main dishes and 30 shekels for a dessert.
To all these you must add the attentive service, warm hearted treatment of Chani Biton the owner, and especially the beauty of the place - a reconstructed Jaffa building from the 30's, impressive with its high ceilings, arches and oriental design. This combination of atmosphere, taste and Kashruth makes the restaurant ideal for both occasions and inviting guests from abroad, weather it’s a public delegation, hosting businessmen or even relatives that you wish to spoil. And if you don’t have any of the above, you can always arrange a birthday...
Le Ralais Jaffa,