An oasis of calm

In the frenetic metropolis that is Tel-Aviv, the Hilton Hotel can always be relied on to provide an oasis of calm amid the chaos.

By
May 30, 2019 09:48
3 minute read.
An oasis of calm

CHEF RAFIK JABARIN. (photo credit: HILTON HOTELS ISRAEL)

In the frenetic metropolis that is Tel-Aviv, the Hilton Hotel can always be relied on to provide an oasis of calm amid the chaos. Just walking though those revolving doors and into the air-conditioned classic elegance of the lobby is a soothing experience.
The Lobby Restaurant & Bar and Chef Rafik Jabarin are now offering three-course meals for guests who want a meal without the formality and expense of Chloelys Restaurant.

Invited recently to sample the fare, we settled down to watch the flame of the sun gently dip itself into the Mediterranean and find out what exactly the lobby had to offer.

For starters, it is super-genteel, with lovely waitresses hand-chosen for their personal qualities – lady-like, polite, charming and intelligent. Most are post-army and pre-university, so you get the picture.

The in-house pianist, Moshe Hatueli, plays popular favorites on his impressive grand piano, as he has done for years.

We liked the separate cocktail menu with both classic cocktails and newer creations, each one named for an Israeli town or area (NIS 66-75). My choice was the Beersheba, basically a variation on the classic screwdriver with vodka, orange and tangerine juice with mint garnish. It was refreshing but also carried quite a punch. My companion’s choice was whiskey-based – a heady mix of Glenlivet, vermouth and Becherovka (an herbal liqueur with secret ingredients), which the creative menu-writer had dubbed “Judean Hills.” Sneaking a taste, I discovered it was not as strong as I’d feared. Hopefully he would be able to drive me home safely.

We’d intended to pass on the bread but the maître d insisted we try the fresh-baked focaccia with goat labaneh, creamy tahini and tomato zest. While nibbling on this very welcome starter we waited for our hors d’oeuvres to arrive. I chose cheese soufflé on beetroot pesto not quite knowing what to expect (NIS 61). It consisted of two mini mounds of very strong but fluffy cheese perched on a bed of beetroot puree with pesto. The pungent cheesy tidbits blended perfectly with the puree which in both color and taste was incomparable.

My companion’s choice for starter was a dish of leek and cauliflower rissoles with aioli, lemon yogurt and red pepper salsa. Both such flavorsome vegetables, this could not fail, especially as they seemed to be free of flour (NIS 60)
While there is a huge selection of pastas and pizzas, we plumped for fish – a Japanese salmon for me, lavrak for my companion. (NIS 101). A very large fresh fillet of salmon appeared, topped with white and black sesame seeds, and served with soy-soaked glass noodles and bok choy. It was scrumptious although the bok choy was a bit too al dente, another minute of cooking would have been good.

My companion’s crispy fillets were served with a lemon carrot puree and potato gratin, both tasty accompaniments which did not overpower the delicate taste of the fish.

I had planned to eschew dessert until our waitress suggested we look at the selection in the glass-fronted refrigerated cabinet near our table. As soon as I saw the lemon tart I changed my mind. I’ve had it on a few occasions and it is simply divine – crisp, thin, short, crust-filled with a sweet but tart lemon curd topped with meringue. Wonderful. My companion, feeling very virtuous, chose the sugar-free cheese cake which, though not sweet, was very palatable.

Two great cappuccinos later, and we stepped out into the sultry Tel-Aviv night with full stomachs and warm hearts.

Hilton Hotel Lobby Restaurant & Bar
Kosher
Open every day 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Hayarkon St. 205, Tel-Aviv.
Ph: 03-520-2222
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.



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