It was a very cold and rainy evening, and the idea of visiting the warm cellar of The Whiskey Bar & Museum seemed perfect – and it was.
Celebrating a rare opportunity to sit down to dinner with my brother (who lives abroad), we chose the place for its amazing atmosphere and beautiful décor, but also because both of us enjoy tasting and comparing different whiskeys. Plus with this as a conversation piece – all other conversations just flew effortlessly.
We are both interested in whiskey – living in Dublin for a few years, I joined a whiskey club just to pass the time and used to go to tastings every month, and I still remember a thing or two and enjoy comparing different whiskeys. My brother is a self-taught aficionado, so both of us were really looking forward to tasting some pretty interesting whiskey – but we did not realize that we were also in line for a culinary delight.
The Whiskey Bar & Museum, located in Sarona, Tel Aviv, has more than 1,400 different kinds of whiskey from more than 13 countries, from Scotland’s and Ireland’s famous and not-so-famous distilleries, to less known whiskey-producing regions such as Hong Kong and India.
Located in a Templar tunnel, the place housed a wine cellar in the 19th century, and later was occupied by the Mossad (so you can just sit back and think of all the secrets these thick walls are keeping…).
The whiskey bottles placed against the stone wall offer a warm amber glow and dominate the space, adding much to the experience.
The whiskey is served in special Glencairn glasses, which enhance the flavors of the drinks. Prices range from as low as NIS 9 for a shot to NIS 2,239.
There are many whiskey “trails” to choose from and we chose number 14 from Islay island – an area my brother is currently interested in. We chose the same one for both of us but you can decide to choose different “flights.” The one we chose started with the less famous Islay distillery Finlaggan (46%), and then moved to more famous ones from this small Scottish island – the Lagavulin (16 years), followed by Port Charlotte (10 years) and ending with the excellent Laphroaig Quarter Cask. What a delight for Islay lovers.
After choosing our trail, it was time to look at the menu and the options were plentiful. As a vegan I don’t expect too much when I go to restaurants, and I am used to settling for a dish from which many original ingredients were removed. But this was not the case here.
The menu is surprisingly rich and focused. The kosher chef restaurant (Tzohar supervision) serves a varied selection of dishes prepared from the finest raw materials, including excellent meat dishes, a few of which are smoked in the kitchen, fresh fish and a surprising selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes that offer a wonderful backdrop for the whiskeys, which take center stage here.
Many of the dishes looked tempting but with the help of our lovely waitress, we chose to share one plate of roasted and lightly smoked vegetables, with sea salt, to complement the Islay whiskey, and olive oil (NIS 58), a plate of artichoke gnocchi with herbs and mushrooms (NIS 86) as the main dish for me – which was delicious, rich and satisfying, and the entrecôte for my brother. The aged entrecôte was grilled perfectly and served with a baked potato and green aioli. You can order either 350 gr. or 500 gr. He took the 350 (NIS 158) and loved every bite.
If you are a whiskey aficionado or just a fan – this is the place for you. Mind you if you really want to learn more – sit at the bar, where you’ll get more information than from the waiters.
Whiskey Bar & MuseumKashrut: TzoharDavid Elazar 27, Sarona, Tel Aviv(03) 955-1105
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.