The world seems to be getting ever more connected technologically and most people want everything to be quick because they simply don't have the time to wait. Preparing food is something that should be enjoyed and eating it is ideally not done in front of the television or computer. I introduce to you Hayo Haya, a restaurant of fresh food and delicious taste combinations made through slow and careful preparation.
I happened upon this gem of an eatery on my way to shop at Machane Yehuda, the Jerusalem open air market. After enjoying a sandwich (NIS 29-36), I asked if I could return to sample more of the menu in order to write this review.
Many of those who ask what I do think that restaurant reviewing is a breeze. Go to an eatery, eat, and then write about it. However, a definitive part of the process is deciding who to bring with me. I prefer my dining partner to be familiar with, and have an appreciation for, the types of food served. So for this excursion, L. had the winning role.
"It was a natural progression to go from scissors to knives," says Amir Balulu, the owner and chef of Hayo Haya. "I have a sense of fun and came up with an idea to write quirky quips for each of the dishes that all start with 'Once Upon a timeâ€¦' where the food is personified," he explains. Balulu is also the brains and brawn behind the bistro's decor, using tiles, wood, and stylish red bar light fixtures. The shelves are stocked with coffee cups, saucers, some bottles of Tavor wine as well as jars of olives, fig jam, and preserved baby eggplants. All in all, a welcoming place.
Amir started us off with two wonderful salads, a sweet potato halumi (NIS 39) and a beetroot with apples, pears and bleu cheese (NIS 42). Both had exquisite flavors but the latter made my dining pal say, "This is so good, it sings."
We then enjoyed a ravioli dish (NIS 53) which boasted sweet potato and Roquefort-filled raviolis swimming pleasantly in a creamy pesto with cherry tomatoes. The tastes all complemented each other.
One of the best features of this restaurant is the breakfast anytime option. My dining partner and I were delighted to try the giant pancake (NIS 34) accompanied by Balulu's wife's secret recipe fig jam, butter, fruit, and a bowl of yogurt or sour cream.
The final dish we enjoyed was the romantic heart-shaped ravioli. The chocolate-filled dough floating on a strawberry puree was a sweet treat for a sweet price of only NIS 29.
This is a place worth re-visiting when you want to immerse yourself in an edible experience.
Hayo Haya, Agrippas 42, Jerusalem. Sun.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-1 a.m., Fri., 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sat., open from one hour after Shabbat until last customer. (02) 622-1793. Kosher. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.