On our first day in Tel Aviv, we decided to have a traditional home style middle eastern meal. The diet here is predominantly meat based (lamb and beef), high on wheat and fresh or pickled vegetables. Stews, soups and one pot broths are cooked at home, eaten either with rice or couscous or bread.
The word ‘mitbach’ in Hebrew means kitchen, and ‘mitbachon’ is a small kitchen. This now modern very european looking eatery started out as a small canteen where a family cooked and served daily meals. It slowly grew and is now one of the more sophisticated home-style restaurants. The people are warm and friendly, thankfully all the staff speaks english and they have an english menu. Placing our order was easier than most times, when we had to resort to wild gesturing and over-the-top facial expressions. The menu is concise, which also helps.
We decided to have a Beef stew with couscous and Majadara with dil flavored curd. The Beef stew is much like a goulash, wholesome and packed with veggies. The meat was tender, and had evidently beef sitting on the fire for a long long time. The couscous was perhaps the best couscous I’ve had. What I do find odd here is that people here are accustomed to eating dry food. The gravy to rice/bread proportion is significantly lower, and this time too I could have used more gravy. This is probably a cultural difference my palette hasn’t adjusted to.
Majadara is rice steamed with lentils and spices, much like the Indian khichdi. However this rice dish is again completely dry and doesn’t have the viscous comforting quality that a khichdi has. However the curd does provide the necessary moisture. I need to cleanse my palette of the usual, and adapt.
A warning to anyone travelling to Israel. Portions here are huge, especially the meat servings. We could not finish a dish each and had to pack some of the food away. In fact in most places I’ve eaten at here, two of us have been able to share on serving. Maybe that’s just cause we Indians and smaller people, and not used to eating so much meat.
Damages: 30-35 shekels per head. ( 420-490Rs per head)
Near Carmel market, Off Allenby, Tel Aviv