(photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
Located on bustling Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem’s German Colony is the two-year-old kosher dairy restaurant and café Pompidou. As owner Gal describes it, “It’s an Israeli restaurant with a French name that caters to mostly Anglo customers.”
Upon entering, the place looks smaller than it is, as the front of the restaurant has five small tables.
However, a few steps through a short corridor and around the corner tells a different story: A larger and more open area in the back offers a more lively seating area for 40 to 50 patrons.
The décor is consistent and welcoming, with small and cozy round tables in the front of the restaurant, perfect for a quick cup of coffee and pastry. Plus there are two or three small tables outside.
The back section is ideal for a large gathering or an intimate dinner.
The large windows surrounding the restaurant allow for a lot of natural light and people-watching on lively Emek Refaim. The music is upbeat and cheerful, mostly from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
We showed up on an off hour and had a chance to try some of Pompidou’s more popular dishes.
The meal started with the soup of the day, which was a creamy orange soup, served with a slice of toasted French bread seasoned with garlic and olive oil and topped with melted mozzarella cheese for dipping (NIS 33). This was classic comfort food.
The next appetizer was roasted Italian eggplant topped with tomato sauce and a generous portion of buffalo mozzarella cheese on the side (NIS 39). The combination of the smoky flavor of the eggplant, the zesty sauce and the mild creaminess of the mozzarella worked very nicely together.
The third dish was focaccia alla Milanese – freshly baked bread topped generously with grilled red peppers, eggplant, black olives and sprinkled with feta cheese (NIS 44).
On the side came three classic dips of tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh pesto.
In between the appetizers and the main dish, we were served the Bindela salad: mixed greens, walnuts, candied pecans, sliced apples, figs and dried cranberries tossed in a super sweet coffee and honey dressing and topped with a giant mound of shredded Gorgonzola cheese (NIS 58). This salad was huge and ideal for sharing.
The main course was homemade goat cheese ravioli in a creamy beet sauce (NIS 58). Very simple and delicate flavors to contrast with the vibrant color of the dish.
For dessert, we enjoyed a simple serving of crème brulée with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was paired nicely with a hot apple cider.
Overall, Pompidou is a very reliable dairy restaurant and café for those who prefer not to eat at a chain café or restaurant. The managers of Pompidou know exactly who their clients are and go out of their way to try to please them.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
19 Emek Refaim St., Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 625-1111