Ethnic Diversity Delivered: Restaurant Food To Your Doorstep

Romanian food from Mitch, Indian from Tika Pika

 (photo credit: GIL AVIRAM)
(photo credit: GIL AVIRAM)
Nice to Mitch you
Most Israelis are familiar with kebab as quintessentially Middle Eastern, the equivalent of the universal hamburger in our myriad local steakiyot, where shipudim (skewers) and hummus reign supreme. But kebab (much like kofta) is actually a meat-based staple of cuisines along much of the route of the ancient Silk Road, from Eastern Europe and the Balkans in the west, through Asia Minor and Central Asia to Punjab and northern India in the east.
Among what might be considered Ashkenazi food in Israel, perhaps the kebab of Romania is the most well-known. And just as fans of hummus will debate the merits of a particular hummusiya in Jaffa or Abu Ghosh or east Jerusalem versus its nearby competitors, aficionados of Romanian kebab will swear by their favorites. In Haifa, the champion of the Romanian grill may well be Ma’ayan Habirah; in Tel Aviv, meanwhile, a worthy candidate for this title may well be Mitch TLV.
The chef who oversees this modest establishment in the Carmel Market is Orit Moskovitch, who is laser-focused on doing just a few things right. The entire takeaway and delivery menu consists of just four main courses and five side dishes, all Romanian specialties, and hardly any vegetarian-friendly. But it would still take more than one order or meal to taste most of the dishes, since each prepackaged portion/dish is family-sized.
The menu, in Hebrew, may be viewed online only as a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page; ordering is done by phone (English will probably work, since they will correspond in English on FB Messenger). The 100% beef main courses (NIS 120-150) arrive frozen, with instructions (in Hebrew) for defrosting and heating. Delivery (NIS 20-40) is available to most cities in the country, with different days of the week set aside for different geographical regions.
The name Mitch derives from the Romanian nickname (mici) for small cylinders of ground meat – either kebab or sausage – meant to be grilled. The kebab version is chef Orit’s flagship dish, and it should be at the top of anyone’s first order. It was extremely easy to cook the ready-made ground beef fingers at home, and the perfectly seasoned kebab was a carnivore’s succulent delight.
My second choice of main course was either Patrician sausage or sarmale, Romanian stuffed cabbage, and the restaurant’s owner recommended the latter. I was glad she did, because the tightly rolled cylinders of white cabbage stuffed with ground beef (and hints of rice), accompanied by a thin tomato sauce redolent with more chunks of cabbage, were outstanding.
The small plates at Mitch can be either side dishes or appetizers, like meze. I enjoyed one of each: Romanian ikra – a rich, ivory white fish roe spread with chopped raw onion – as a starter, and mujday, a dish that is not actually listed on the regular menu.
Mujday is a thick garlic paste that is definitely not for the faint of heart. As a big garlic fan, I was expecting something akin to the Greek skordalia, which is intense but goes down easily. By contrast, mujday is a fiery concoction that is more suitable as a condiment than a spread or a dip. (Tip: I turned it into a delicious spread by mixing the mujday with a mashed avocado. It would probably also go well with tomato paste.)
Mitch TLV.
Kosher (no certification, closed on Shabbat).
Nice to Mitch You.
Nice to Mitch You.
Tika Pita
Tika Pika – a hybrid innovation created as a direct result of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic – is the brainchild of the first family of Indian cuisine in Israel: chef Reena Pushkarna, her husband, Vinod, and son Kunai. They earned this sobriquet by virtue of opening the first successful Indian restaurant in Israel, more than 35 years ago.
Now, as the current pandemic stretches on endlessly, the founders of Tandoori restaurants are reprising their pioneering ways. Even though they continue to offer the regular menu via takeaway and delivery (see the review of 24.4.20 on these pages), they have decided to create fusion dishes that are more delivery-friendly – and affordable: pitot stuffed with Indian food.
The unusual sandwiches are prepared in, and dispatched from, the kitchens of the Tandoori restaurants in Tel Aviv and Herzliya – although the website of the new project makes no mention of the parent eateries. In fact, neither do the addresses appear anywhere, even though a “TA” option is mentioned. Deliveries go out during lunch and dinner hours to all of Gush Dan, via Ten Bis and Wolt.
The Tika Pika menu comprises three categories: Indian-style pockets (NIS 30-39), Sides (NIS 10-18), and Combo meals, which combine the two (NIS 46-66). There is a grand total of seven pockets to choose from, two of which are vegan. The three sides, meanwhile, are all versions of fries. Indeed, apart from the fillings in the pockets, the only thing Indian is one condiment: the house tika sauce, a tomato chutney (NIS 3).
Of the seven pockets, I sampled the most popular, the chicken tika; one vegetarian pocket, the tofu; and one of two from the sea, the calamari. Both the marinated chicken morsels (with tehina) and the cubes of tofu in chickpea batter (with tika sauce) were quite satisfying and surprisingly filling.
The battered and fried calamari rings in tika sauce were also tasty; the only drawback, however, was that because they had been sitting in the sauce for quite a while, they arrived a bit soggy.
Even though I requested a simple Indian side dish (tzatziki), I was sent only fries. The good news, at least, is they were excellent McDonald’s-style fries.
None of the Tandoori desserts are available from Tika Pika; just like Mitch, therefore, this meal was sans sweet finish.
Tika Pika.
Not kosher.
Tel. (03) 629-6185.
Online menu: