For an authentic taste of India, chef Reena Pushkarna's Kohinoor in Jerusalem's Crowne Plaza hotel is a genuine gem.
Indian food at Kohinoor in Jerusalem Photo: Boaz Lavie
Situated at the far end of the Crowne Plaza lobby in Jerusalem, Indian
restaurant Kohinoor is centrally located and easily accessible.
is the name of one of the world’s most famous diamonds that supposedly
originated some 800 years ago from a mine in India and, after years of changing
numerous hands, is now fixed in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth. The crown is on
display along with the other British Crown Jewels in the Tower of
The owners of the restaurant seem to have intended for their
establishment to be regarded as a “jewel” among other restaurants and, after
tasting the excellent dishes, they have clearly achieved that
Co-owner and chef Reena Pushkarna has achieved a uniqueness that
few restaurants in Jerusalem have matched. At Kohinoor, says the menu, you will
find cuisine of Mogul emperors, the earthly delights of clay ovens, Parsi dishes
and specialties of Goa. Indeed, the food served at the restaurant is drawn from
recipes from around India.
The menu, which artfully includes handwritten
recipes, is full of choices, and it is almost overwhelming to select from among
them. Thankfully, our waiter was on hand to suggest some choices and offer the
option of not-so-spicy, medium spicy or very spicy for just about
Curried vegetable soup (NIS 27), garlic kulcha (oven-baked
bread stuffed with garlic) and onion kulcha (NIS 20) were brought to our table
and made a great beginning to what became an aroma-rich, very tasty and filling
The waiter brought out a bottle of Merlot, which served as a great
pairing for the rest of the meal.
The Tandoori chicken (prepared in a
special clay oven brought from India) and chicken Kastoori (NIS 72) were
excellent as were the chicken tikka (NIS 72) and beef vindaloo. The chicken
tangri drumsticks, marinated in a mild masala sauce and broiled in the tandoor
oven were perfect.
Vegetarians can easily eat at Kohinoor, as the
non-meat choices, including basmati rice, are plentiful and rather delicious.
The Delhi salad is pretty much like an Israeli salad except that the vegetables
are cut larger. According to one of the many commentaries on the menu, at least
one cooked vegetarian dish is a must at every Indian meal. It is a misconception
that everything that is spicy in Indian food is curry. Indian cuisine is very
diverse, with numerous regional, cultural and religious variations.
the main course, the waiter brought warm rosewater with which to clean our hands
– a practice many of Israel’s restaurants should adopt. It is a pleasurable
experience to be able to formally rinse fingers at the table.
consisted of various sorbets (NIS 27) – all of them refreshing – and elaichi
kheer (NIS 29), a delicious cardamom-flavored rice pudding dish.
is more of a family-style restaurant. And the decor at the entrance and inside
the restaurant attempts to give you the feeling that you are actually in
All in all, Kohinoor is highly recommended for those who want to
take a break from ordinary eateries and indulge in unique and great-tasting food
in a slightly more exotic atmosphere.
The writer was a guest of the
Kohinoor Kosher Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem Tel: (02)