A place in the countryside

Muscat offers a warm welcome to Moshav Udim

Food at the restaurant Muscat (photo credit: Courtesy)
Food at the restaurant Muscat
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘I love my job,” says Ilan Oved as he adds another log to the roaring fire on the patio of his restaurant Muscat in Moshav Udim. Although the weather outside was wet and gloomy, the atmosphere in the popular dairy restaurant was as warm as it gets. It wasn’t just the log fire, although of course that helped. The rustic décor, the bistro-like tables with iron pedestals, the candles on each table and the garden setting all help to make a visit to Muscat a pleasant social and culinary experience.
And so to the food. Oved, who has been in the catering business all his life, recommended we try the cheese balls cutely called Uri Caduri (NIS 25) as a first course, together with risotto balls in tomato sauce (NIS 21).
Uri Caduri, described as cheese falafel coated in breadcrumbs and fried, were a mixture of feta, white bulgarit and some hard cheese, served with very garlicky yogurt. The whole dish was a new gastronomic experience for me, and I found it delicious. The risotto balls consisted of cooked rice with herbs and were also deep fried, served with a fresh tomato sauce full of flavors including garlic and tons of basil.
On a previous visit, we had tasted the ubiquitous roasted eggplant with tehina, which was almost a meal in itself (NIS 26).
Oved insisted we try his French onion soup for which the sliced onions are simmered for three hours with white wine (NIS 38). The flavor was superb – how could it not be? The grated cheese and croutons were served separately, but it was still the closest thing to French onion soup you will find this far from Les Halles. The soup came in a small lidded tureen which kept it hot. Some diners like their onion soup served in hollowedout brown loaves, but Oved correctly assessed that we preferred a bowl to soggy bread.
For main courses we both chose salmon dishes (NIS 78), although there was a wide selection of pasta, quiches and salads. My companion chose the salmon baked with garlic and butter, while I was more adventurous and went for the salmon in teriyaki sauce. We were surprised to discover that the fish was not fresh as it was very soft and flavorsome. As a whimsical touch, the fillet had been cut into the shape of a fish.
Side dishes included potato puree and Israeli cubed salad with a good piquant vinaigrette.
We also sampled the rice casserole, which is a popular vegan dish – brown rice stir fried with vegetables. It was highly flavored with turmeric, cumin and curry, was very spicy and would make a perfectly good meal on its own (NIS 45).
The dessert menu was not printed on paper but on a brightly painted finjan (coffee pot). We ordered mousse halva and chocolate cake, each dessert perfect in its own way (NIS 33). We ended our memorable meal with good cups of cappuccino – one regular and one decaffeinated.
Before leaving, we checked out the adjoining shop, which sells clothes and household items.
Moshav Udim was founded in 1948 by Holocaust survivors. Today there are about 1,300 residents.
Among the local industries are wine-making and cheese production. The cheese served at our meal was all locally produced. Houses in Udim often come up for sale, so anyone can become a cheeseproducing moshavnik if they are so inclined.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Dairy. No kashrut certificate
Hadekel, Moshav Udim
Tel: (09) 885-8735
Hours: 9 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Open daily except Friday night.