Bistro by day, pick-up bar by night.
Growing up in London, I am no stranger to a good gastropub, so I was excited to
try the new tapas menu at Burla, a popular bar in downtown Jerusalem.
dining companion and I braved the snowstorm to head over there, and although the
bar was fairly quiet when we arrived at 8.30 p.m., by 11 p.m. it was packed to
capacity with local artsy students who seemed to be regulars, as well as groups
of Americans and other expats looking for good food, drink and the possibility
of meeting someone new.
Burla has been open for three years, but chef
Shanir Hayon, formerly of the upscale Gabriel restaurant, moved there three
months ago and designed a new menu with tapas treats and more.
to divide and conquer. My dining partner took the meat dishes, and I went
for the fish and vegetarian options. There was plenty to choose from for both of
us. I started with the famous ceviche (NIS 33), which was incredibly fresh, with
a nice tangy taste – one of my favorite dishes. Another great dish was the
mushrooms sautéed with garlic, honey and Parmesan (NIS 28). The mushrooms
were succulent and perfectly cooked.
Among other dishes we sampled were
the red mullet risotto (NIS 30), which was creamy and had a good consistency but
lacked any real kick; and the Caesar salad (NIS 28), which had slightly too much
dressing for my taste, making the lettuce leaves soggy. The Middle Eastern
eggplant baladi (NIS 26) had a delicious smoky flavor profile, and I loved the
addition of roasted peppers. My companion tried the meat version, however, and
found it bland.
I happen to love most things cauliflower, so I
particularly enjoyed the cauliflower coated and fried with sweet chili sauce and
tehina (NIS 23). It is a great bar snack, very simple, although I would
have preferred more sauce and a lighter batter. The bar also serves fried
calamari rings in the same batter (NIS 31), and my companion agreed that he
would have liked lighter batter and more flavor.
From the meat selection,
my dining companion tried the sirloin carpaccio (NIS 39), which was nice but
underwhelming, and the entrecote skewer (NIS 28), which was very fatty. On the
other hand, he particularly enjoyed the hamburger (NIS 47), served with fries
When it came to desserts, we both agreed: they were
mouth-wateringly delicious. We sampled the chocolate soufflé (NIS 28), which was
a perfect balance of warm, rich chocolate with creamy vanilla ice cream and
halva. The crème Burla (NIS 28) is a classic crème brulée with a good
crunch on top and a creamy base. Last was the surprise dessert (NIS 27) which,
luckily for us, was an almond tart served fresh out of the oven in a
The selection of drinks is vast, and we both enjoyed the
Kirill sangria (NIS 38/glass), and I also sampled a fruity glass of Australian
Yellow Tail Shiraz (NIS 33/glass; NIS 119/bottle).
As bar menus go, there
really is something for everyone, and the tapas dishes are perfect for sharing
or a late-night feast.The writer was a guest of the
37 King George Avenue, Jerusalem
day, noon – 5 a.m.
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