Classic Europe in Tel Aviv

Café Nordoy serves up innovative and flavorful summer dishes.

By NERIA BARR
August 14, 2019 18:52
4 minute read.
Classic Europe in Tel Aviv

Café Nordoy. (photo credit: ANATOLY MICHAELO)

In the middle of the summer, at the heart of hot and humid Tel Aviv, we stepped into cool and classic Europe... well kind of.
Café Nordoy, located at the ground floor of boutique Hotel Nordoy, in a pretty pink picturesque building on the corner of Nachalat Binyamin and Gruzenberg streets, you open a door and walk into a place styled like a traditional café somewhere in Europe.
The restaurant’s interior is surrounded with large windows adorned with white lace curtains, chandeliers, wooden bistro-style tables and chairs, and numerous art objects and paintings scattered about. The main dining area is dominated by the bar, which is possibly the best place to sit and watch the goings on.

From its inception, Café Nordoy became a favorite brunch spot for Tel Avivians, offering favorites such as Belgian waffles, corn bread and Eggs Benedict, to name but a few, as well as excellent cocktails. We spent many happy mornings here with friends. This time we came to taste Azguri’s new summer evening menu – and what a treat it was.

Chef Einav Azguri gets his inspiration from the classic European cuisines. The menu is divided according to ingredients, and the chef declares that his sole purpose is to excite the palates of his clientele. Judging by the fact that reserving a table here in the evening is not an easy task, he has succeeded.

The wine list here is excellent, cohesive and well-thought, and our lovely waitress was very helpful. I ended up having a glass of Sancerre Les Belle Vignes from the Loire Valley (NIS 66 for a glass), a perfect white wine for a summer evening of good dining. My companion loves a good cocktail so he tried the Sazerac, made with Jack Daniels Single Barrel Rye, Angostura Bitters, Pastis and Chartreuse. Too much alcohol for me but he was very pleased (NIS 57). 

Café Nordoy is one of the very few places in Tel Aviv to serve oysters. Since it is one of his favorites, my companion just had to order one (NIS29). It was perfect, he said.

Then food arrived and it was excellent. Our first starter, and one we really looked forward to, was the Parmesan mousse. A dish I had never tried anywhere before, this was perhaps the best dish of our meal and certainly the most special. 

This festive dish, served in some Michelin-starred restaurants, is presented here in a pool of cold salmorejo (tomato, bread and garlic cold soup) and bruschetta, so light and flavorful I couldn’t have enough of it. The salmorejo was velvety and flavorful and the mousse light as a feather. Delicious (NIS 39). The second starter was a sea fish tartare, which was on the day we were there a white bonito. It was served over very well-prepared Ajo Blanco (garlic and almond sauce) and seasoned with fresh herbs and some chili – again, very refreshing, full of flavor and simply delicious.

Another starter that the chef wanted us to try was a leek and shrimp salad. Leek salad is a rustic French classic, adding mustard greens, shrimps and shallots vinaigrette heightened the dish making it more appropriate for an evening menu (NIS 84).
After a short break and some more wine, another white for me and a red for him, and we dug into our main courses. I ordered the sea fish fillet of the day. Served with excellent potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes, it is a classic, and it was exactly what I wanted – light, perfectly prepared and very satisfying. For those missing classic dining, this is how it should be done. The price of the fish changes according to the fish served, and that in turn depends on what was caught in the morning. But I am quite sure it is always excellent.

My companion cannot resist a good sirloin. Here is it served with potato gratin and excellent beef and port reduction, a truly timeless dish. The steak was served medium, as it should, seared well on the outside and a little red on the inside. The meat was tender and full of flavor and the sauce perfect. This was a steak he will be dreaming about in days to come (NIS 128).
We were too full but couldn’t escape without desserts. We chose chef Azguri’s traditional cheesecake. It is not a New York cheesecake, nor the one served everywhere in Israel. It is, again, a very old-world European heavy and rich cake, baked on the outside and mousse-like and a little runny on the inside, not too sweet, with a hint of salt and very rich. It was a cake that deserves a good cup of coffee and an Alpine mountain top vista. But even in the middle of our hot city it was pure pleasure. Don’t miss it.

Café Nordoy
Not kosher
Nahalat Binyamin St. 27, Tel Aviv
077-231-1923 or Nordoy.co.il
Brunches are served Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.


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