Rama’s Kitchen sits in a idyllic rural setting. A drive up through the village of Abu Ghosh and then along a winding road that twists through the Judean Hills brings one to Nataf, where a small path leads up to the restaurant alongside a plant nursery, which grows organic herbs for use in the kitchen.
A large wooden balcony with expansive views of the hills completes the setting, as did a balmy night with a cool breeze to chill out with after a hot summer day.
We started off with a couple of cocktails inspired by the organic garden, which certainly lived up to the setting. I went for the Spicy Coriander, made with corianderinfused gin, chili liqueur, lemon and tomato, which was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning view and the cool evening breeze. My partner had the Plant Nursery, a vodka-based fruity cocktail with fig liqueur, grapefruit juice and sage and rosemary leaves, which was also outstanding.
To nibble with the cocktails, we ordered taboun-baked bread served with toma, a delicious potato and garlic dip that came with spicy homepickled olives.
It started out as one of those evening you just don’t want to end, but my starter was a little disappointing. I ordered the crispy chicken liver pate with chili jam, beetroot cream and fresh pears and strawberries. I found the pate to have an overpowering taste that wasn’t sufficiently balanced by the chili jam and beetroot cream, while the strawberries were simply out of place.
Served on a granite board with the chicken liver topped by the strawberries and beetroot cream, the dish seemed incongruous, belonging more to an episode of Master Chef than to a country-style restaurant.
My partner had asparagus sauteed in olive oil served on a bed of cream of goat’s cheese. Here, the neutral cheese balanced out the sweetness of the asparagus well. A long curled potato fry was a nice twist to go with it.
For the main course, I went for the beef assiete, a selection of beef cuts with a red wine sauce accompanied by a full-bodied glass of Flam Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The beef cuts were cooked to perfection, and the sauce was tasty but left me wishing I had opted for a dish with more herbs and country flavor.
My partner skipped the main course altogether and enjoyed the view with a glass of Yarden Gewurtzraminer.
For dessert, we had a lemon mousse served with a finely chopped “Arab” fruit salad and sorbet. We ended the meal with a pot of herbal tea and more of the view and peace and quiet.
As we left, I nibbled on the lightly fried sage leaf that had topped the toma paste. It was exquisite.
Rama’s Kitchen was an enjoyable experience and left me intrigued enough to say I will be back but hoping for more dishes that stick to its country roots and fine herbs.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Rama’s Kitchen Not kosher Nataf, Jerusalem Hills (02) 570-0954