Meir Adoni’s 'Mizlala' restaurant in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: PR)
Meir Adoni is a star. He’s been one for a few years now, but ever since he joined the reality TV show The Chef’s Games as a judge and mentor, he is an even bigger star.
That said, when it was time to celebrate my birthday last month, we wanted to do it at Adoni’s restaurant Mizlala. But the place is a popular destination for local foodies and is almost always full, so calling to reserve a table at the last moment, we only managed to secure one for what in Tel Aviv is considered an early dinner, 7 p.m., which suited us fine.
We arrived at seven and the restaurant was not too busy, but it got much busier as the evening progressed. The large bar dominating the entrance hall, which was almost empty when we entered, was very crowded by the time we left, filled with youngish locals having fun.
The staff of the restaurant was very attentive and knowledgeable, but when they sensed that we wanted to be left alone, they didn’t come asking if everything was fine every five minutes as most do in other local places.
The menu is diverse and has many traditional Israeli dishes with the chef’s twist added to them, turning what is usually a home-cooked dish into a gourmet offering. There are also takes on famous dishes from Italian and French cuisines. But again, nothing is as you would expect, and there is always the Adoni touch added to them.
Such was the dish I had to start with from the daily specials menu: the fisherman’s Caprese (NIS 89).
Caprese is the well-known Italian mozzarella, tomato and basil salad, but here it was served with a whole grilled fish (NIS 39).
But before the dishes arrived, we received the bread basket, consisting of sourdough bread with coriander seeds and rye bread with raisins served with pepper aioli and butter (NIS 24), served with a few dips.
Another first we tried was the sea fish ceviche, consisting of mango, black bean cream, smoked chipotle, passion fruit vinaigrette, chili, avocado cream and plantain. It sounds like too much, but in reality it was simply sumptuous (NIS 86).
Next, I was delighted by the roasted sweet potato and chestnut ravioli (NIS 79), served on a Jerusalem artichoke paste with almonds, shinoki mushrooms, Parmesan and a porcini sauce. It was not a large dish but worth every mouthful, from the perfectly made pasta to the creamy sauce.
My companion had the beef and lamb kebab, served with a stew of eggplant and Swiss chard, roasted tomatoes, lemon paste and tehina sauce. Again, very local flavors yet somehow prepared differently (NIS 89).
We finished off our meal with two delightful desserts. The plum blush, a Japanese-inspired dish of lemon and yuzu cream, ginger crumble, whipped buttermilk, licorice ice cream and almond meringue cookies, flavored with thyme, lemon zest, sugar-coated almonds, hibiscus and raspberry powder was, interesting, not too sweet and had a very refreshing citrus aroma (NIS 57).
For my companion, who loves his chocolate, it was the Valrona chocolate bar served with vanilla and pecan ice cream, pistachio paste, pistachio twill, halva and juniper toffee crème that gave the meal a glorious finish.
The menu changes regularly, so Mizlala is an ideal place to which one can keep returning. We certainly will, and very soon.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mizlala Not kosher 57 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 566-5505 Sunday to Saturday, noon to midnight