Walking into Jaffa’s Beit Kandinof feels like discovering a secret. The long and narrow space, together with the lighting, gives off a cozy ambience, while the tree-like design that climbs up the walls and blooms into arches left me feeling like I had stepped into a secret garden.
The design is so beautifully done that even though the trees are made of rebar, nothing about it feels remotely industrial, and the fake leaves hanging down from the branches only add more delicate details.
The experience only got better from there.
Beit Kandinof’s chefs, Shami and Itay, have built a special menu celebrating mangos, which Shami says are only in season for two and a half months in Israel. The menu will only be served until mangos go out of season.
What struck me most about the menu was that it was far from one-note. While it revolves around one fruit, every dish feels like something new and showcases its star ingredient in an entirely different way. From sweet to spicy, every dish is refreshing and light. The menu, which has been intricately thought out, is simply a work of genius.
More than that, each dish managed to impart a whole spectrum of flavor with every bite that took me on a journey as the flavors developed and blossomed in my mouth in a gentle and exciting way.
Gentle and refreshing are, in fact, the two words that characterized almost everything that was served to me, including the Jasmine cocktail that has been perfectly crafted to mimic a delicate glass of grapefruit juice without there actually being the slightest hint of grapefruit in it.
The service was incredible from the moment we were seated until the very end of our meal. The staff exhibited a flawless knowledge of both the regular menu and the mango menu which was being launched the day we were there.
After we had received our cocktails, the dishes began to arrive. Every new dish was exciting, from the mango gazpacho to even the butter and jam served with the fresh sourdough bread. Three dishes, however, were the stars of the evening in my mind.
The first dish to arrive at the table was a bright mango-colored gazpacho (NIS 68). It arrived in a glass and poured into a bowl by the waiter, to surround a salad in the center.
To say the gazpacho was delicious is an understatement. The flavor was so delicate with just the perfect hint of spice and every bite brought my senses alive in a way that most foods cannot.
The nectarine and shallot salad was diced up perfectly tiny so that it didn’t feel like it was interfering with the gazpacho but was the ideal complementary detail and provided a crunch for some added texture to the soupy gazpacho.
This was my favorite dish of the evening.
The sea bass (NIS 98) arrived accompanied by a mango cream sauce, together with bok choy and turnips, with some lemon on the side.
The fish, which was cooked and seasoned to perfection with a delightful crispy skin, was the star of this dish, but the mango was still very much necessary as it was an excellent complementary element to dip the fish in.
The bok choi and the turnips were also well-placed in the dish and provided a vegetable element that suited the fish well.
Each bite of the mango tart (NIS 52), which was accompanied by buttermilk, was a journey. While there isn’t much chewing to be done with the tart, which is silky smooth, the flavors continued to develop in my mouth even after I swallowed it.
Topped with dried rose petals, the balance in textures is perfectly engineered in the dish, as the mango filling is accompanied by an excellent pastry and the added crunch of the petals.
Beit Kandinof, with its cosy ambience, incredible food and ultra-friendly service is a perfect place for a special occasion, a date or a night out with friends. The restaurant even has two private rooms with larger tables to fit bigger groups, and give them their privacy and the space to comfortably dine together.
Beit Kandinof is open from Monday to Saturday and closes on Sunday.
Not kosherHatsorfim 14, Jaffa03-650-2938
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.