In 1989 there was this music video that always used to run that I really loved. In the clip there is this ponytailed man. His neighbor knocks on the door to ask for a teaspoon of sugar. The man was singer Shaul Tzirlin, and since then, despite always singing his song, Spoonful of Sugar, off by heart, I haven’t given him much thought.
20 years have passed since then, and I arrive at Tzirlin’s new restaurant, opened 6 months ago on Kibbutz Beit Hashita. Turns out the ponytailed man isn’t just a singer, but also a chef, and he’s been in the restaurant business for many years. He opened his restaurant, called Kapit Sucar (Spoonful of Sugar), in cooperation with kibbutz members, and the result is more than enjoyable.
The building where the restaurant is located was the children’s dining hall 70 years ago. Today, after the kibbutz underwent a modernization process, Kapit Sucar brings the members an alternative new dining hall when they don’t feel like cooking at home. Kapit Sucar also gets many passers by, who stop by on the road, as well as people from the area who heard the news about the successful little ‘dining hall’ that opened in Kaveret Habayit. Kapit Sucar also hosts, with advance reservation, small events for up to 40 people and Shaul is happy to arrange a special menu that will suit your event.
The culinary concept is simple and on target. A lovely homey little place, not pretentious, not expensive. Tzirlin makes what he calls ‘Mom’s food’, and he doesn’t mean a mother who comes from a specific ethnic background, but mothers the world over: Russian, Georgian, Romanian and Italian dishes, along with hummus, can be found on the menu. Every few months the menu changes, according to season and request.
We arrive on a rainy Friday afternoon, and are happy to hear that there is lentil soup and chicken soup, just like grandma’s. Both soups do their job well and we slowly start to defrost, amazed at how much good soup can do. For mains we chose the dish of chicken livers in sauce and the pork chop. As we wait for them to arrive, we polish off our soups to the last drop.
The liver dish was nice, but the pork chop was amazing. “It all starts with a pan and a spoonful of sugar” Tzirlin reveals the secret to his dish. The spoonful of caramelized sugar gives the meat its special taste.
For dessert we are happy to get the blintzes, made just like at home and topped with hot chocolate sauce. There is no greater combination than sweet cheese and chocolate, and certainly no greater way to end a good meal on a cold winter’s day. It’s so nice to discover a small simple pearl that isn’t trying to be something it’s not, and is excellent at being what it is. And it’s wonderful to discover that the ponytailed man whose song, Kapit Sucar, I knew off by hear 20 years ago has continued creating wonderful things to this very day.
Kibbutz Beit Hashita