If you’ve ever dreamt about having a restaurant all to yourself, you can make that happen at Spoons, a dining and cultural experience in Jaffa.
Owner Hila Solomon is a gracious and charming hostess who clearly loves to host people and has a knack of making them feel cared for and relaxed. I had heard about Spoons in its previous iteration in Jerusalem but had never made it there. When Hila invited me and my husband for a recent dinner, I was happy to accept the invitation.
Our evening began on the balcony overlooking Jaffa Port as the pink sun slowly slipped below the horizon. As we sipped our ice-cold gin and tonics and nibbled on appetizers (small tarts of caramelized onion and others of smoked eggplant, along with a Bukharan meat-filled dumpling called mantour), I knew it was going to be a great evening.
Hila then brought us bowls of bright green pea and cucumber soup garnished with mint flowers. It was delicious and refreshing, and we continued to sit on the balcony as the light faded.
We went inside for dinner, and there was a surprise waiting next to our place settings – a beautifully wrapped gift for each of us.
My husband’s distant family members were the founders of Bar-Ilan University, so his gift was the original program for a conference held at Bar-Ilan and a book about the university. Mine was an original newspaper written by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in 1908. I plan to get it framed. In her spare time Hila runs a gift business called “Personalim” where she finds unique personal gifts for clients.
Hila then served us several salads and a delicious pâté with figs, which I mistakenly thought was the main course, since it was served separately from the salads. Pâté is one of my favorite foods, especially with figs. Then Hila said, “Would you like your main course now?” Oh dear.
Before the main course, there was a palate-cleaner of basil sorbet served with a shot of arak. I hoped it would not only cleanse my palate but make more room in my full stomach. Alas, that was not to be.
Of course, in service to my readers, I had to at least taste the chicken, which was covered in herbs and served with plums. I happen to really like chicken and fruit as a combination, and this was so well made. There was also a fish dish of sea bass with olives. I was really full, and I’m not a big fan of cooked olives, so I passed on this, but my husband, who eats very little meat, said it was delicious.
Dessert, which we were both too full to take more than a bite of, was a fig tart.
I’m sure you’re all wondering what we drank with this lovely meal. Hila did not know that I am a “wine person,” but had presciently chosen wine from one of my favorite winemakers, Ya’acov Oryah. It was his Queen of Hearts, a white blend of chardonnay and Semillon, along with a little chenin blanc and gewurztraminer. If you haven’t tried Ya’acov’s wines, trust me when I tell you that you should. He is also the winemaker at Pinto in Yeroham.
Hila runs her dining experience by prior coordination and usually for a minimum of eight people. She did not want to have prices printed in the newspaper. It would be a great way to celebrate a special occasion with a few friends. Come hungry!
SpoonsSecret location in JaffaKashrut: Private mehadrin kashrutFor reservations write to Hila at [email protected]
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.