An air of sophistication

Warm and inviting, Hatzela Hashminit has a menu that should have people lining up around the block.

Italian Restaurant 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Italian Restaurant 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If Hatzela Hashminit were on a street filled with other restaurants in an area that more people walked by, then I think it would be full every night. However, on the night my friend and I visited, we were pretty much the only people there, which is a shame. This is a great restaurant and deserves to be filled with people every night and even have a line outside of people waiting to try the unique dishes.
The interior is very intimate while maintaining an air of sophistication. The waitress that served us could be described in the same way. She was very friendly and was happy to talk us through the extensive menu and maintained a level of professionalism throughout the evening.
After being served our bottle of Tulip Winery Gewurztraminer Sauvignon-Blanc, we were given bread with butter and roasted garlic.
For starters we shared seared tuna served with orka salad, wasabi peas and tobiko (NIS 49) and an endive salad with stilton cheese, mango and goose breast (NIS 39). The tuna was very interesting and had a whole host of varying flavors. Tobiko, which is the Japanese word for the flying fish roe, is something I had never had before. On the plate it looked like little black specks; but when tasted separately, it had a distinct fishy taste that worked well with everything else on the plate. The tuna was perfectly cooked, and the salad was a little different from the average offering.
The endive salad was better than I expected. We went for relatively light starters because we knew we would want something rich and heavy for the main course. The sliced mango gave the salad a fresh, tropical taste that worked surprisingly well with the small cubes of heavily smoked goose breast. The portion was very small and if I had ordered without knowing that I was going get filled up by the main course, I might have been disappointed.
However, there was no chance of staying hungry after the main courses. The moment I saw the Meat Celebration (NIS 135) on the menu, I just knew I had to have it. I even checked out the menu online before I visited, and my heart was set on this dish before I even stepped foot in the restaurant. The layers of filet of beef, fois gras with smoked goose breast and fried egg yolk served with truffle mashed potato just sounded too good to pass up.
I was not disappointed. Even though I wasn’t in the mood for so much meat by the time I got there, I still had to order it. I don’t usually like so much meat, but I do love fois gras and goose breast.
The dish was served in layers with what can only be described as a thin dagger holding all the meat together on a wooden board which had collected all the juices. It sounds as if it could be too much and, to be honest, it was. But the flavors worked well together and the small thin strip of smoked goose breast on top finished everything off perfectly.
The truffle mashed potato deserves its own praise. The texture was great, and the added truffle taste made it rich but very fitting for the dish.
My friend went for sirlion steak with truffle puree and bok choy (NIS 135). Although this was a pretty standard steak dish, the meat was perfectly cooked and the bok choy added something a little special. The truffle mashed potato also worked well with this dish.
By this stage we didn’t have much room for dessert, so we decided to share profiteroles (NIS 39). Profiteroles are my favorite childhood dessert, and when I order them now I am always worried that they won’t taste as good as they did in the family-style Italian restaurants where I used to eat them. I had nothing to worry about here. The cream was fresh and had the right hint of vanilla, the pastry was rich, and the chocolate sauce on top was just perfect.
For those looking for something a little off the beaten track and a little off the food radar, then Hatzela Hashminit is the place to go. The combination of a relaxed atmosphere and sophisticated food should not be missed.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Hatzela Hashminit Not kosher 16 Rambam Street, corner Nahlat Binyamin Tel Aviv (03) 510-0995 Warm and inviting, Hatzela Hashminit has a menu that should have people lining up around the block