Vashti restaurant 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Just steps from the Clock Tower roundabout, Vashti is a welcome addition to
Jaffa’s ever-maturing culinary roster.
Opened three months ago, the
restaurant was the brainchild of three friends: architect Shmulik Davidson,
theater actor Florence Bloch and artist Rahel Hagigi. The small restaurant’s
appeal lies chiefly in the elegant simplicity of its dishes and the eclectic
cool of its decor.
Chef Meirav Davidson, just 22, earned her stripes at
Machneyuda, a popular Mediterranean-style restaurant near Jerusalem’s Mahaneh
Yehuda market. Her presentation is one of restrained refinement, with simple yet
creative aesthetics and light flavors. “My confidence comes from the raw
ingredients,” she says.
Davidson’s menu is likewise direct and to the
point: two options for starters and a handful of mid-size dishes and main
For starters, try the carpaccio of red tuna and corvina (musar,
in Hebrew) garnished with passion fruit, or the calamari on an eggplant filet
with cherry tomatoes (both NIS 26).
Among the mid-size dishes, the
gazpacho, blended with goat’s milk yogurt, is a revitalizing summer treat (NIS
The menu is heavy on meat and seafood, and diners opting for either
won’t be disappointed. Highlights include lamb meatballs with tarragon (NIS 58)
and a delectable seared butcher’s cut steak served medium rare with preserved
lemon and fried potatoes (NIS 92).
Vashti has a full and formidable
dessert menu that includes Chef Davidson’s signature macaroons, lemon meringue
pie, a malabi (milk pudding) trio and semolina cake topped with pistachio,
cinnamon and cardamom (NIS 28-35).
The wine list is respectable, with
mostly Israeli wines starting at NIS 20 a glass. We chose the Ella Valley
Sauvignon Blanc, which is dry and crisp – far from the limpness afflicting
lesser Sauvignons – perfect for cooling down on a sultry Jaffa
Vashti is family-friendly but could also serve as the venue for
a casual date. The service was impeccable, with friendly wait staff available at
our beck and call.
The ambience is intimate and relaxed, with a view of
the kitchen from the bar and indoor tables. The walls are lined with modern art,
and an eclectic soundtrack – from the Buena Vista Social Club to Johnny Cash –
lends the place an aura of an oh-so-hip cafe. Outdoor seating offers guests a
view of Jaffa’s main Yefet Street artery and a welcome breeze wafting from the
In the Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King
Ahasuerus, banished from the Persian court for refusing to appear at the royal
banquet. Visitors to Jaffa would do well to treat themselves to a feast at this
modernday Vashti, a small gem in the crown of the port city’s
restaurants.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
kosher 8 Retzif Ha’aliya Hashniya, Jaffa Tel: 057-942-8679 Open Monday to
Saturday 6 p.m. – midnight http://vashti.rest-e.co.il/