(photo credit: Courtesy)
This restaurant must be in one of the most beautiful settings in Israel. It’s actually inside the Ra’anana Park, just next to the lake and surrounded by flower beds and tall shading trees. It’s housed in an eye-catching perfectly spherical building with large windows providing a great view of the natural beauty all around.
Mandarin has followed the trajectory of many other restaurants recently by going from non-kosher to kosher. Sometimes they go in the other direction, which is always a pity, especially if it’s one I’ve raved about in this column (as happened recently), but
Gideon, the owner, is very happy with his decision to go kosher.
However, he is at great pains to emphasize that the decision was purely a commercial one.
“It’s hard to find workers on Shabbat,” he explains. “Everyone wants to be at home with family.”
Perusing the laminated English menu, we each chose a first course. I liked the sound of tapas, (NIS 44) while my companion plumped for his favorite pea soup. (NIS 39).
The very green soup was so hot that it must have been at boiling point when ladled into the plate. This is always a good thing – who wants lukewarm soup on a cold night? It was a perfect consistency and tasted very pea-like without being over-spiced.
The tapas arrived on a huge plate and consisted of three different items. There were falafel balls with yoghurt, fried halumi and parmesan cheese bites and an eggplant salad topped with date syrup and garnished with almonds. While it was all very delicious I worked out that the calorie count was about what I allow myself on an average day.
I chose more sagaciously for the main course, picking a Chinese stir-fry of vegetables (NIS 62) with an extra of fresh salmon (NIS 9).
The dish consisted of a gargantuan amount of vegetables, including bean sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, red peppers and others, with chunks of fresh grilled salmon lurking among the veg. It was far too much to finish, tasted great and felt healthy compared to the first course.
My companion chose fillets of sea bass baked in a stone oven with crispy roast potatoes. The fish was perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned, but the potatoes left something to be desired, being more soggy than crispy. However, the food disappeared in record time, so was obviously a success (NIS 96).
After a short pause, we decided that for full disclosure we must at least taste a dessert each. All in the NIS 40 price range, we picked a three-layer chocolate mousse and cheesecake with berries. The mousse was heart-shaped and the layers were dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. It tasted as good as it sounds. The cheesecake was very light and fluffy, not too sweet and contrasted beautifully with the sour berries.
The service throughout was solicitous, and we highly recommend a meal at the Mandarin.Mandarin
Derech HaPark 10
Open: Sun to Thurs. 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Friday – 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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