(photo credit: Courtesy)
For adventurous gourmets, there is a brief window of opportunity to taste some really exciting food in the coming week.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel has paired its executive chef Itzik Barak with his counterpart in the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles, Frederic Larquemin, to produce a four-course meal which will be served at the Palace Restaurant, the hotel’s flagship eatery, from March 3 to 14.
A preview of the dinner was held recently at the restaurant and proved to be a memorable gastronomic experience. Getting into the mood with fellow foodies, we were served glasses of pink and white sparkling wine trying to look like real champagne, which raised both our expectations and blood sugar levels.
Sitting down to a beautifully laid table, we began our meal with a thimbleful of velvet soup – well, actually it was served in a demitasse complete with saucer – which was so good it would have been nice to have a whole bowl of it. The thick orange-hued soup, made from butternut squash, was hot, rich with tantalizing flavor and garnished with wild mushrooms and roasted pumpkin seeds.
After this amuse-gueule, a fish course was served, consisting of a very respectable piece of sea bass fillet that had been oven-roasted, served with a confit of celeriac and broccoli florets in a red wine sauce. The solid fish had been cooked to just the right degree and was tasty and succulent. I loved the accompanying vegetables – thin discs of celeriac and al dente broccoli buds in a rich wine sauce. I was somewhat surprised, when the cutlery was changed, to see that it was not fish-specific. In a hotel with such a pedigree, one could be forgiven for expecting it.
While other options, including vegetarian, are available, we were served lamb chops as a main course. They were thick and full of the delicious meat, which was very tender. The potato puree had a great flavor of star anise, and the dish included some roasted beets and a marvelous red wine sauce.
There was a choice of desserts – citrus tart and chocolate and pecan delight. Naturally, I and my companion had one of each. The citrus tart was a circle of shortcrust pastry topped with blobs of lemon cream and grapefruit marmalade, all very melt-in-the-mouth. The chocolate dessert was a ball of extra-dark chocolate filled with yuzu cream. Yuzu is a citrus from the Far East, so the cream had a good tart edge. Mango sorbet was served on the side.
The cost of the four-course meal is NIS 285 and includes all the Carmel wines which accompany each course, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz and, with the dessert, Gewurztraminer. For serious gastronomes, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel
Gershon Agron Street 22-28
Dinner served between 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Phone: (02) 542-3333
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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