A nod to nostalgia

At the trendy new Ascot cafe-bar in Tel Aviv, even the chopped liver is cool.

A nod to nostalgia (photo credit: Courtesy)
A nod to nostalgia
(photo credit: Courtesy)
How do you turn a traditional Jewish dish such as chopped liver into a trendy hit in this day and age? The owners of the new Ascot cafe-bar decided it was time for the return of Jewish cuisine and are introducing it to their fashionable young crowds in their trendy Tel Aviv establishment.
The proprietors, a group of entrepreneurs who own a number of successful pubs and night spots, felt it was time for them (as they have settled down and have families) to open a daytime restaurant that also serves as a more grown-up bar at night.
“We wanted a place for us, where we can spend time with our families,” says one of the owners.
Located in what appears to be the best location in the city – right at the end of Rothschild Boulevard – Ascot faces the street and the newly renovated Habima Square, where families go for walks in the afternoons, where all the social movement rallies start, and where most Tel Avivians and tourists go for their evening stroll.
The idea behind the place was a nostalgic one, aiming to bring back the intimate feel of Tel Aviv’s early years, the simple elegance of the new pioneers who tried to create a Jewish- European community in the young emerging state that had its own philharmonic orchestra and theater, cafes and dance halls.
Most items at Ascot are made in Israel – from the food, the coffee, the beer and wine to the soundtrack, the waitresses’ uniforms and the decor.
Chef Sabina Valdman brings back dishes that many Israelis grew up eating at home, such as the famous Israeli breakfast, with eggs and salads, herring and yogurt and poppy seed buns. There are makolet style breakfasts served on paper with a selection of cold cuts and dark bread, interesting tapas dishes that are served with the drinks at night, and now a selection of Jewish dishes such as chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, and potato and egg salad with sardines served with halla.
The six different beers on tap come from local boutique breweries, there are many local wines from small wineries and even a few of the iconic types of alcohol that are produced here, such as Sabra and 777 brandy.
Ascot also operates as a cafe, where you can meet friends over coffee, read the morning paper, work or simply engage in people-watching. You are bound to see a few local celebrities walking their dogs, or at least some of Tel Aviv’s most attractive people.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.Ascot Cafe, 142 Rothschild’s Ave. (03) 6209969, Open from 9 a.m until last guests.Not kosher