Yosef Hadayag makes a splash Jerusalem.
(photo credit: PR)
Knowing a thing or two about the Jerusalem culinary scene, I can attest to the difficulty of finding a high-concept kosher fish restaurant where everyone knows what they’re doing.
One person who has succeeded in establishing such a place is Yaniv Shoshan, chef of the new restaurant Yosef Hadayag nestled in the German Colony.
Walking into Yosef Hadayag, the atmosphere is both informal and stylish – warm, busy and surprisingly sophisticated. The spacious dining room is a perfect marriage of contemporary and old Jerusalem style: a mixture of textures such as wood, limestone and fashionable light fixtures.
Shoshan wanted my dining companion and me to get a good understanding of what the restaurant has to offer, so after we provided a little guidance as to our likes and dislikes, we were brought a parade of tastes. The menu consists mainly of fish dishes but also offers pasta dishes (such as ravioli, gnocchi and spaghetti).
After we were seated, our enthusiastic waitress began to bring us a selection of salads and dips that come with every main course. As well as the usual eggplant dips, tehina and chopped salad, there were some interesting tomato and pepper matbuha salads. While we could have easily filled up on the tasty spreads and salads, we stopped ourselves to leave room for the next course.
First up was the sea bream carpaccio (NIS 45). This was a whirlwind of sauces and flavors, complementing the delectable raw fish. After finishing that, I was left with the impression that each little garnish and sauce on this dish had a distinct purpose.
This was followed by a sweet potato ravioli (NIS 46) in Alfredo sauce with porcini mushrooms, white wine and nutmeg. As it was a fish restaurant, I had my reservations about this dish; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the ravioli, which was delectably creamy and full of rich goodness.
At this point, Shoshan took some time away from his busy kitchen to talk with us about his other culinary ventures. Having worked for many years as a sous chef at La Regence in the King David Hotel, he had always dreamt of opening a fish restaurant in memory of his grandfather Yosef, who was a fishing enthusiast. A daily visitor to Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, Shoshan also regularly travels the length and breadth of Israel to ensure that only the best quality arrives at his tables.
After a bit of a breather, my dinner companion chose the grilled whole sea bream (NIS 115). It was well prepared and very satisfying. I chose the fillet of salmon (NIS 110), which was very fresh, tasty and well cooked. I didn’t even look for a piece of lemon as I often do to enhance the taste, and the mashed potatoes served as a side dish were simply perfect.
When it came time for dessert, we were presented with a variety of options. The mango mascarpone was very tasty. But I think the winner was the Ferrero Rocher chocolate log. Even though we had eaten far too much already, we strove valiantly to finish this rich cocoa creation.
In all, the outing was a hit. It’s encouraging to see chefs tackling the kosher scene with creativity and skill. Not only is the food of the highest quality, but the wait staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and their smiles are genuine. They really seem to enjoy their work.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
54 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem