A Gallic tradition at the Sheraton

The Olive Leaf in Tel Aviv celebrates its annual French gastronomy week.

A dish from French food week at The Olive Leaf (photo credit: Courtesy)
A dish from French food week at The Olive Leaf
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Every year, under the slogan “So French, So Food,” Israel hosts a visiting delegation of prominent chefs organized by the embassy of France for the purpose of collaborating with our country’s leading chefs in creating gastronomic experiences in the best Gallic tradition.
This month, 18 chefs from different regions of France fanned out across seven Israeli cities, where they were hosted by 13 restaurants and bakeries. Prominent among them was the Olive Leaf Restaurant at the Sheraton Tel Aviv, which served special dinners for three evenings, culminating in a full day of master classes taught by three visiting chefs.
“The Sheraton Tel Aviv has been a So French, So Food partner ever since the project’s inception six years ago,” says Jane Yacoubzadi, the hotel’s public relations manager. Partners are active sponsors recognized by the French embassy, BusinessFrance and the Institut Francais.
In previous years, all the visiting chefs had been recipients of coveted Michelin stars, bestowed by the famous culinary guide. This year, the scope has been expanded to include chefs honored by Gault & Millau as well, the other internationally renowned guide to gastronomy, which announced the debut of an Israeli presence in 2017.
The Olive Leaf, the Sheraton’s flagship restaurant, is one of the few select kosher So French, So Food restaurants nationwide, and the only one in Tel Aviv in 2018. Resident chef Michele Bozzetto, a native of Italy, hosted Pierre Meneau, chef of the Parisian restaurant Crom’Exquis, which holds two Gault & Millau toques (chef’s hats).
The menu for So French, So Food week featured only four appetizers, five main courses and three desserts but still managed to comprise a variety of dishes: cooked fish and meat, raw fish and meat, and even vegan options.
A good way to start the meal was with one of the five cocktails specially crafted for the occasion, four of which were made with Grey Goose vodka, one of the week’s sponsors. In particular, our waiter recommended the Cucumber Fizz (NIS 52) – Grey Goose La Poire, cucumber, lemon juice and club soda. A refreshing cocktail that went down easy.
We started with the ravioli artichoke (NIS 90) – one very large round pasta pocket filled with foie gras and caramelized nuts, topped with an artichoke fried in olive oil. The rich goose liver combined with sweet crunchy nuts made this an exceptional dish, one that was gone all too quickly.
The cauliflower maki (NIS 60) was small, snowy white cauliflower florets immersed in guacamole and wrapped in seaweed, in the manner of sushi rolls. A truly delicious way to eat one’s vegetables.
The marinated salmon carpaccio (NIS 70) was thinly sliced salmon in teriyaki sauce, accompanied by shiitake mushroom pickles, horseradish and dentelle crepe. The freshness of the raw fish was evident, enhanced nicely by the carefully selected condiments.
Our first main course was lamb filet in jus and a cumin emulsion (NIS 145), served with baby carrots, mini onions, and Brussels sprouts in a honey cumin sauce. The two medallions of tender lamb were melt-in-the-mouth succulent, and the al dente vegetables were delicious in the distinctive sauce.
The poached sea bass fillet (NIS 110) came topped with blanched almonds and almond milk emulsion. The perfectly cooked white fish was moist and flavorful, served with grilled bok choy and roasted tomato.
The wine list for the week, imported vintages from France, comprised only one white two reds available by the glass, so there was so no possibility of pairing with each dish. There were also two champagnes, available only by the bottle.
For dessert, we enjoyed fresh strawberries soaked in Grand Marnier (NIS 45), with mint and rosewater jelly; and chocolate cake (NIS 40) with coconut sorbet, toasted coconut and caramel. Each in its own way – thankfully without resorting to the pretense of trying to make ice cream or similar desserts that would necessarily be inferior by employing dairy substitutes – was an excellent finale to this kosher gourmet meal.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Olive Leaf Restaurant
Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel
115 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 521-1111