La Lumina .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Celebrity chefs these days are like the movie stars of old - especially if they are young and good-looking, like Meir Adoni.
He now presides over four restaurants, two of which are kosher and located at the Tel Aviv Carlton.
I recently tasted the offerings at the signature La Lumina restaurant, my loyal eating companion at my side.
La Lumina is considered a gourmet high-end restaurant but in spite of this has a delightfully casual air about it. The head waiter walks around in a T-shirt and the tables are cloth-free, although laid with linen napkins and copious amounts of cutlery.
Our waitress, Adar, offered predinner drinks and I chose my favorite tipple - gin and tonic. This was well-mixed with plenty of the hard stuff – but where oh where was the obligatory slice of lemon? My companion sampled one of several top whiskies on offer.
As we sipped our aperitifs, food began to arrive - tiny crispy bagels with three different dips – pesto, olives and spiced beans. Nothing to rave about in that course.
Then the starters appeared and things began to improve.
The gefilte fish was made with burri (sea-bass) rather than the more traditional carp. It was delicious and very aesthetically presented with blobs of beetroot puree and slices of Japanese radish (daikon) filled with tapioca.
Original garnishes for an excellent dish (NIS 81).
My companion had the bruschetta topped with salad, pieces of tender steak and tehina, the whole flavored with lemongrass and coriander. It was more like a main course than a starter and had to be eaten selectively (NIS 87).
I liked the fact that it was served on a replica of a page from Le Figaro, a cosmopolitan touch - even if it did become extremely soggy as the meal progressed.
For the main course I chose Malaysian chicken (NIS 93) which consisted of tender chunks of fried chicken in a very orange curry sauce, with pieces of butternut squash to tone with the orange, and pineapple for sweet contrast.
It was very peppery, which suited me fine.
My companion chose lamb (NIS 177) very juicy and tender inside with a crispy outside and caramelized sauce over the whole.
This came with a selection of crispy vegetables – snow peas, runner beans, mushrooms and leeks. He appeared to enjoy every mouthful.
To accompany the rich food we had a glass of pleasant red Flam Classico (NIS 50).
All the desserts are 49 NIS and we selected two – Galilee Pleasures and Exotic soup.
The first was a semolina cake in coffee glaze, strawberry compote, berries, almonds with a pistachio tuile and pistachio sorbet. The second was made of citrus and coconut milk with tapioca, sorbet passionfruit tuile and lemon-lime marshmallow. They both looked and tasted a lot like English trifle, although with an exotic touch. I really liked the garnish of goldsprayed basil leaves which I assume were there to be eaten.
The restaurant filled up while we sat there and it was bursting at the seams by the time we left. It’s gratifying to see so many young couples who can afford the somewhat inflated prices of La Lumina. The entire place has a young vibe which is very pleasing.
There is also an extensive vegan selection.
A special arrangement between the restaurant and the municipality means that, at the very least, visitors don’t have to pay for parking.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
10 Eliezer Peri St. Tel Aviv
Sunday to Thursday – 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. to 11 p.m.