(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Rooftop restaurant of the Mamilla Hotel was the first establishment I reviewed for The Jerusalem Post two years ago, so I was a little nervous about returning for another review in case it didn't live up to my previous visit. Fortunately, the meal was delicious and enjoyable, and it was a pleasure to review their new menu.
While there are some dishes on the menu that remain the same, chef Cobi Bachar has introduced many new dishes that are more adventurous and unique.
With spectacular views over the Old City walls and surroundings, there is no question that the setting alone is an attraction for many people. This was the first time I had been to Rooftop in the winter, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how efficient the canopy and heaters were, despite the cold Jerusalem night.
But it was not only the view that made my head spin that evening, as one particular starter was a startling revelation. The bone marrow (NIS 74) served with Jerusalem artichoke brulee, white truffles, veal filet, veal brains and mushrooms left me completely perplexed. My companion was not brave enough to try all the components of the dish, but I dived straight in. There is no question that the dish was beautifully presented, extremely well executed and very tasty. If I had not known that I was eating brains, I think I would have happily eaten nothing else all night, but I think my brain had a problem with the notion of eating someone else’s brain. The more unusual parts of animals are appearing more frequently on mainstream menus, so I highly recommend trying this dish because you might surprise yourself at how much you like it.
There are plenty of other appetizers to choose from. We particularly liked the grouper schwarma (NIS 66), also an unusual dish. I never would have believed how well the schwarma spices worked with fish instead of meat. Another favorite was the simple iron-rich salad (NIS 48), a mix of greens with almonds, craisins and a pomegranate vinaigrette.
For the main course, we loved the short-rib lasagna (NIS 130) with goose liver and porcini mushrooms. All the rich flavors complemented each other well and the dish was also interestingly presented, but we thought the price was high given the small size of the dish. Similarly, the lamb chops (NIS 186) were very succulent and not too fatty, but at that price I would expect more than two small chops.
As with most meat restaurants in Jerusalem, there is a “gourmet” burger on the menu. The Rooftop beef burger (NIS 98) served on a brioche with goose liver did not disappoint, although the fries could have been crispier. The charcoal-grilled entrecote (NIS 152) is an old classic; however, I would have preferred it served with mashed potato rather than fries. Finally, the seared sea bream (NIS 126) was beautifully presented, with black cabbage cassoulet, artichoke cream and smoked salsa.
As for desserts (all NIS 50), we were glad to see that the chocolate mille feuille had returned to the menu – a must for every chocolate lover. The strawberry pie was beautifully presented, but we found the pastry slightly too thick. The exotic citrus soup was a refreshing option, but the accompanying meringue was very large and a little too dry. Finally, we tried the Turkish shamali semolina cake, served with tahini ice cream and peanut brittle. The ice cream was delicious and the brittle tasted wonderful, but it was very hard to bite into and was not easy to share.
We received excellent service from our waitress, Naomi, who was extremely knowledgeable about all the dishes on the menu. The sommelier, Oz, was particularly passionate about the wine menu and gave us some excellent wines pairings with our meal. We particularly enjoyed the Wadi Katlav, Katlav Winery (NIS 290/bottle) and the Cabernet Sauvignon, Sumaka Vineyard, Carmel Winery 2010 (NIS 280/ bottle, NIS 68/glass).The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mamilla Hotel 11 King Solomon Street, Jerusalem (02) 548-2230
Sunday-Thursday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday, noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, one hour after Shabbat until 11 p.m.