02: A special Pop Up grill experience at Jerusalem's Inbal - review

For a limited time at the Inbal, chef Nimrod Norman is offering an upscale shipudiya that is well worth checking out.

 02 at the Inbal (photo credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG)
02 at the Inbal
(photo credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG)

If you have a rich uncle visiting Israel or a special occasion to celebrate or just want to spoil yourself, head to 02 in the Inbal until June 21 for a special grill restaurant experience.

I’ve written before about why I think a shipudiya (from the word “shipud,” or skewer) is excellent value for your money. For one price you get an array of salads, fresh pitot, skewers of meat and a side dish. For a limited time at the Inbal, chef Nimrod Norman is offering an upscale shipudiya that is well worth checking out. For those who may have forgotten, 02 refers to Jerusalem’s area code, and the restaurant tries to showcase what is unique to Jerusalem.

“How do we take a shipudiya and bring it to a fine dining restaurant?” Norman said to me. “We work with luxurious products and put our own spin on it.”

What's on the menu at the Jerusalem skewer Pop Up?

Unlike most grill restaurants, here the first course is not salads but an array of creative tapas. They are also not included in the price of the skewers, but cost NIS 125 per person. While it sounds like a lot, you get quite an array of dishes. It starts with an opening drink of Arak, pomegranate and lime that is refreshing and thirst-quenching on a hot night.

 02 at the Inbal (credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG)
02 at the Inbal (credit: ITAMAR GINZBURG)

The food includes fresh baked pitot and a plate of “harifim” or “spicy things,” of which I tried only the roasted garlic, which was delicious. There was a raw fish crudo accompanied by a salad that was cut up into the tiniest pieces I’ve ever seen. There was a spicy watermelon salad with fakus (a special kind of cucumber grown in the West Bank) that was unlike everything I had ever tasted.

There was a tomato salad on a bed of yellow gazpacho, small whole fried barbunia fish, and my favorite, an asado “cigar” with a plum chutney.

There were other dishes, but you’ll have to go there to hear about all of them.

By this time, we were already pretty full, but we powered through, tasting three skewers. We let the chef choose what we would taste, which is always fun. A portion here is just one skewer instead of the usual two, but it is a large skewer and was plenty.

We tried a tuna skewer, made, of course, with fresh tuna (NIS 140) with a Moroccan carrot glaze. The tuna was delicious and was not overcooked at all, a common challenge when grilling meat or fish.

Next we split a skewer of King Forest Mushrooms (NIS 82) with a sweet glaze – one of the best vegetarian dishes I’ve ever tried. The pargit (spring chicken) (NIS 82) with black garlic was wonderful, and my husband described the kebab (NIS 98) as “the best kebab I’ve ever had.”

The restaurant has an extensive wine menu and quite a few wines by the glass. We drank a glass of Yarden 2T, one of my favorite red wines, which is a blend of two Portuguese grapes, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao.

Reservations recommended.

02 Pop UpInbal Hotel3 Ze’ev Jabotinsky, JerusalemPhone: (02) 675-6649Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.