Cheers to Chiripom

A toast to the new kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv

Chiripom restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Chiripom restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
Having enjoyed eating at Hamotzi, 2011 Master Chef winner Avi Levy’s Algerian kosher restaurant near Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda, I was very excited to try the chef’s new kosher restaurant, Chiripom.
Situated on Tel Aviv’s Ahad Ha’am Street, Chiripom (which Levy says means “happy food”) offers the best of North African cuisine with an Israeli twist.
Approaching the restaurant, we knew immediately that we were in for a treat. Greeted by a charming outdoor seating area, my dining partner and I sat down to enjoy a final moment of anticipation before being seated inside for what was guaranteed to be a gratifying culinary experience.
Once inside, the dim lights, intimate design and music all contributed to the special atmosphere of the place. On the way to our table, we whetted our appetites by feasting our eyes on the elaborate dishes being served to others.
The best way to experience Chiripom is with a large group, as the dishes are too varied to order just one. The menu is divided into pan, pita and cone (roll-up) dishes.
When we sat down, our enthusiastic waiter began to bring us a selection of salads and dips (each main course comes with two salads of your choice). As well as the usual eggplant dips, tehina and chopped salad, there were some interesting tomato and pepper matbuha salads.
All were a delight; the ingredients were fresh and of high quality. We wiped the plates clean with some delicious homemade pita.
This was followed by the mehammar, a Moroccan potato and sweet potato omelet (NIS 34). This was absolutely delicious – it had a crisp outside and soft filling inside, almost like a dense kind of crunchy mashed potato. It also had a sweet and savory flavor, which I really liked.
Next up was the fried fish in spicy lemon Algerian sauce (NIS 55). A huge fan of fried fish, I wasn’t disappointed. The sauce had a nice kick, and the dish was clean and simple.
It was then on to the veal sweetbreads with egg and eggplant (NIS 56). The sweetbreads were wonderfully crisp on the outside, nice and soft on the inside.
After a bit of a breather and a few shots of arak, we were presented with merguez sausage filled with lamb, offal and green peas (NIS 56). The sausage was extremely juicy and flavorful. The lamb was nicely spiced yet still distinctively sweet and gamy – the way I think lamb should be.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with fine entrecote served with a fried egg (NIS 58). Sliced in thin strips, the entrecote was succulent and cooked to perfection. Forget about the driedout meat you sometimes end up with in other kosher restaurants. This was the real deal.
This was followed by kofta kebab and tehina (NIS 54). The kebab was not only seasoned just right, but it was cooked to perfection.
Last we tried the taffiya pita with lamb and pickled lemon (NIS 55).
The lamb was perfectly seasoned, tender and juicy. It wasn’t fatty at all and very flavorful.
Already bursting at the seams, we valiantly strove on to dessert and tried the delectable semolina coconut cake in lemon verbena and mint sauce (NIS 29). It was sticky-sweet, aromatic and full of delicious summer flavor.
In all, the outing was a hit. It’s encouraging to see chefs tackling the kosher scene with creativity and skill. Not only is the food at Chiripom of the highest quality, but the wait staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and their smiles are genuine.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant. Chiripom Kosher 29 Ahad Ha’Am St., Tel Aviv (03) 620-0022