La Régence restaurant in King David Hotel.
(photo credit: PR)
There is no question that if you want to get the full experience in any restaurant, the best way to do that is via the tasting menu. It gives you a chance to appreciate the versatility of the chef and the true essence of the whole menu. My dining partner and I were delighted to be hosted by chef David Biton, the executive chef of La Régence at the iconic King David Hotel. The restaurant is beautifully situated, overlooking the picturesque pool and gardens of the historical Jerusalem hotel. And the service was exquisite from the moment we arrived.
The chef proudly informed us that 90 percent of produce used in his kitchen is from Israel. If he can source a product locally, he will.
The meat comes from the North of Israel, and the six kinds of olive oil used throughout the menu come from Shiloh.
Surprisingly, the only spices used in the kitchen are salt and pepper, as Biton believes that this is the purest way to showcase the fresh ingredients.
We started the tasting menu with beef chips and wild rice chips served with aioli, a light and interesting teaser that awakened our taste buds without filling us up. Six different starter courses followed. Our favorite was the tomato “leather” filled with sea fish salad, one of the chef’s signature dishes.
The combination of the different components of the dish meant that every mouthful had a slightly different taste. We both marveled at the simplicity of the chicken consommé served with an herb teabag and chicken sandwich and delighted in the uniqueness of the Saragus (white sea bream) confit served on garlic cream and topped with garlic chips and a wild egg yolk confit. The other three dishes of goose liver terrine, soft polenta with mushroom ragout and roasted butternut squash flan were all delicious but not as unique as the other dishes.
We continued on to the main dishes, where the lamb loin served on a parsley cream with fresh peas and shimeji mushrooms was a clear winner. The Israeli lamb was juicy, very lean and unlike any other lamb dish I had ever tried. The roasted duck confit served in black garlic “cannelloni” was sweet and succulent, and the lamb tongue with endive and pickled roses had a great flavor.
As steak lovers, we were disappointed not to try the aged beef entrecote or the fillet of beef financier, but there’s always next time! The chef’s creativity was apparent in both the taste and appearance of all the dishes, and we were amazed that after nine courses, we still had room and eagerly anticipated our desserts.
Unfortunately, our high expectations were not met.
The delicacy in plating the dishes to maximize the flavors and textures was missing in all the desserts.
The chocolate and olive oil dessert was incredible, and I savored every mouthful of the chocolate fondant combined with the olive oil sweets that burst gently in your mouth, but the presentation was very disappointing. It was apparent in the clean flavors of the desserts that they were made with the freshest ingredients, but although we enjoyed the desserts, we felt they lacked the elegance of the rest of the meal.
Although La Régence is more suited to a special occasion than a casual dinner, I cannot wait to return and experience more of chef Biton’s wonderful creations.
The restaurant’s main menu changes seasonally.
Starters range from NIS 45 to 98, mains from NIS 65 to 220 and desserts are all NIS 50. The 12-course tasting menu changes daily, based on the fresh produce of the day. It costs NIS 380 per person, which includes hot drinks and petit fours. Reservations are required.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.La Régence
King David Hotel, 23 King David St., Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 620-8795
Sunday to Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.