Chef Meir Adoni’s Lumina restaurant.
(photo credit: DAN PERETZ)
Tel Aviv is rapidly gaining the reputation of being an international culinary hot spot, and Eilat-born celebrity chef Meir Adoni certainly contributes with his various establishments. These include his flagship (non-kosher) Mizlala and Catit, the (kosher) Blue Sky fish and dairy restaurant on the 15th floor of the Carlton Tel Aviv Hotel, and his gourmet meat kitchen on the hotel’s first floor, overlooking the marina and Mediterranean shoreline.
Adoni, well known to Israelis from his role on the Game of Chefs reality TV series, describes his food as “an unconventional culinary adventure, where East meets West and past meets future.” It is fusion at its finest.
Lumina is not to be taken lightly.
This is the sort of establishment for which you dress up and go out, not a spur-of-the-moment joint.
The attentive staff are friendly and happy to make suggestions, tailor dishes to personal needs and tastes, and help the uninitiated understand the finer points of the menu (in English or Hebrew). This was a welcome relief. Otherwise, the experience as a vegetarian in a very meat-oriented establishment accompanied by a young teenager whose culinary tastes have still to fully develop could have been daunting.
As it was, even before we set about ordering the food, we were able to enjoy the atmosphere and surroundings (the perfect place for my son to practice the use of his newly acquired word “ambience.”) Apart from the sea view, Lumina offered another attraction: an open kitchen. Here, you can see the dishes being prepared, and occasionally a flash of light lit up Lumina as a dish was deliberately set aflame or tossed into the air to expertly land back in the pan.
Although I love eating good food, I have no idea how to prepare it. Of all the food-based TV reality shows, the only one with which I can fully identify is Help! I Don’t Know How to Cook, where culinary-challenged celebrities are put through a sort of cooking boot camp. Hence, the open kitchen was doubly impressive to me as were the gourmet dishes produced there.
We commenced our meal with an olive cocktail dish, lupin salad, ikra and a Georgian salad. For bread, we had kubana, a Yemenite brioche with tomato salsa and chili (NIS 29).
For the first course, taking the advice of the ever helpful waiters, my son chose the Hungarian crepe, filled with shpondra, apples and vanilla, smoked plums, forest mushrooms and thyme veal stock (NIS 41), while I savored the Mexican ceviche (without the raw fish, in my case): black beans, chipotle, ginger, avocado, passion fruit, vinaigrette, mango, coriander, habaner and platano chips (NIS 81).
Our main course consisted of yolk pasta for my son (homemade pappardelle pasta, citrus oil, seared greens, almonds, panko, garlic and poached egg in tempura) (NIS 71), while I opted for the warm freekah salad, eggplant creme, seared greens and parsley coulis, intended to go with a sea bass fish fillet but adapted to my vegetarian tastes (NIS 99).
All the dishes were aesthetically presented and of ample size.
Just as I was thinking it would be good to have a finger bowl for my sticky fingers, the waiter came around with fresh wipes and suggestions for dessert.
Since we were both feeling full by that point, we decided to share a refreshing exotic soup (orange, grapefruit, coconut, passion fruit, tapioca, sorbets with passion fruit tuile) (NIS 39).
Lumina also has a bakery and a fully equipped bar with a rich cocktail menu.
I take it as an achievement that my son was surprised at the end of the meal to find that we had passed two hours of fine dining. Time well spent.The writer was the guest of the restaurant.
Carlton Tel Aviv Hotel
10 Eliezer Peri St., Tel Aviv
Sunday to Thursday, noon – 5 p.m.; 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Tel: (03) 520-1828