(photo credit: PR)
If you love wine and a relaxing, fun place to sip and catch up with friends, Jajo is the place for you. The Jajo Group (they own two wine bars in Neveh Tzedek) have transformed a 150-year-old Templer winery in the Sarona complex into an extravagant wine bar. Although the restaurant has been open for more than a year, it is still relatively unknown by a lot of people, so it still has that hidden gem vibe to it.
Down a flight of stairs, the wine cellar is dimly lit, with brass-andmarble tables set up on one side of the long room and a beautiful bar on the opposite side.
We had the pleasure of sitting at the bar. The bartenders and servers all know their stuff and are extremely helpful and attentive.
Our waitress immediately picked up on our likes and dislikes regarding wine and made solid recommendations that improved our evening.
Chef Adi Levi combines high culinary standards with a hominess and an authenticity. The menu, which features fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes, is eclectic but with a Mediterranean touch, and it’s clear that careful thought is put into each dish to produce esthetic, creative and delicious results.
We began our meal with two glasses of Selbach Riesling (NIS 54). This is a fine example of topquality German wine: fruity with vibrant acidity, clarity and precision. Absolutely delicious.
To try to absorb the alcohol, we dug into some hearty appetizers.
First up was the Caesar endive salad (NIS 52). Endive is a notoriously difficult vegetable for those unfamiliar with it. Though fragile in appearance, it has a rather bitter taste. Here, the endive was finely sliced and served in a mound with baby gem squash, an over-easy fried egg, roasted onion and a sauce that seemed to mellow the bitterness without submerging it.
Very simple in execution and bold in complementary flavors, this is a must-order.
This was followed by the foie gras torchon (NIS 62). Apparently, torchon is a method of cooking foie gras by placing it in a towel (torchon in French) and poaching it. I usually don’t love foie gras, but this one was so creamy and fresh that I was actually able to finish the entire dish. It was served with blackberries and a freshly made brioche, and they all were perfect together.
In between, I tried a glass of the Shoresh blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot (NIS 57). I am a huge fan of Israeli blends, and Shoresh is definitely one of the best, showing a velvety texture, flavors of dark fruit, spices and a long finish. My dining partner tried the Monthelie Pinot Noir (NIS 68).
She thought it was a nice fruity Pinot with hints of berries and apple.
It was on to the mains. We were presented with seared drum fish (NIS 84) in an apple, Normandy sauce accompanied by Chinese cabbage and Parisian gnocchi.
The fish was very flavorful and cooked perfectly. The gnocchi came out very light and fluffy and was melt-in-your mouth delicious. And the sauce was so tasty, I wanted to lick the plate.
This was followed by steak and egg (NIS 75) with cornbread, garlic puree and beef jus. The steak was cooked to perfection: medium rare, juicy and flavorful. And the side of cornbread was perfect for soaking up the delicious runny egg.
For dessert, we shared the caramelized pineapple with cashew cream accompanied by pineapple/lime sorbet, as well as a decadent dark chocolate delight. Both were sinfully good.
Our charming waitress suggested we try two glasses of Pineau. This sweet French aperitif paired perfectly with our desserts and was a great finish to our meal.
Overall, Jajo provides a great experience all around, from the location and the service to the high-quality food and drink.The writer was a guest of the restaurant. Jajo Not kosher 27 Rav Aluf David Elazar, Tel Aviv (03) 522-5822