Meat Couture: A step up from fast food, cheaper than sit-down grills - review

Meat Couture aims for the sweet spot that is a step up from the fast food stands around it, but with prices less than a sit-down grill restaurant.

 Meat Couture (photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)
Meat Couture
(photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)

“Sit down and I’ll pamper you,” Ariel Geulah, 23, one of the three partners in Meat Couture told me after I finally found the place in the food court in the Malha Mall.

There was just one problem. There was nowhere to sit in the food court, which was crowded with tired parents and cranky children just a few days before Rosh Hashanah. The tables are shared among all of the meat restaurants in the food court, while dairy restaurants are on the other side.

The seating problem was compounded by the fact that when many people finished eating they did not clear their own trays, leaving them on the tables. I did see one elderly man clearing trays and swishing a dirty rag over the tables, but it was not an appetizing place to eat.

Geulah saw our predicament and came to the rescue, clearing off a table and wiping it down for us.

“We pay so much rent and they don’t even clean the tables for us.”

Ariel Geulah

“We pay so much rent and they don’t even clean the tables for us,” he grumbled at the administration of the Malha mall.

 Meat Couture (credit: ASSAF KERALA) Meat Couture (credit: ASSAF KERALA)

Taking a seat in Jerusalem's Malha mall food court

But once he came over with a tray of homemade salads (or salatim in Hebrew) our evening improved dramatically. The difference between homemade salads and packaged salads is significant. At Meat Couture everything is homemade, and tastes it. I especially enjoyed a smoked eggplant salad and the olives, which were just a touch spicy. The coleslaw was also very good as was the hummus served with roasted garlic cloves. The bread is not standard pita but frena bread, which is thicker.

We then tried the smoked asado, which was not too smoky and was juicy. You can get your meats on a baguette (NIS 54) or in a laffa (NIS 54) or on a tray with three salads and three dips. For example, the Couture Mix Tray has 200 grams of asado and lamb doner shwarma served with pita, three salads, three dips and one side dish.

Speaking of side dishes, Ariel brought us what may be the best baked potato I’ve ever had. It was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and had some green herb sauce on it – really a treat.

He also brought us an arais tray (NIS 54), 200 grams of spiced chopped meat inside grilled pitas, topped with tomatoes and tehina. It was messy but delicious.

“I’m really sorry that we ran out of doner,” he said, referring to the Turkish-style shwarma that comes off the spit in slices rather than small pieces. “I don’t want to put another one on because I won’t sell enough before we close, and I won’t serve anything leftover. Everything is made fresh.”

We didn’t try them, but there are also several steaks on offer, which might be hard to eat with the plastic cutlery and paper plates they use. Geulah says they used to offer real plates and silverware, but people kept throwing them away when they cleared off their trays.

Although only 23, Geulah has been working in the food service for almost 10 years. He says he dropped out of school at 14 and has worked since then. He is one of eight children and says he’s always been interested in food. 

Meat Couture aims for the sweet spot that is a step up from the fast food stands around it, but with prices less than a sit-down grill restaurant. So the next time you’re shopping in the Malha mall, swing by and taste some of Meat Couture’s food. You can also order on Wolt and 10bis. Meat CoutureFood Court, Malha MallHours: Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.Friday 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.Kashrut: Mehadrin

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.