Dining review: Putting it all on the table

For those looking to take their desire for a night out with friends to the next level, Table Talk could be just the right place.

Table Talk restaurant in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Table Talk restaurant in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 6 month old ‘cosmopolitan bistro’, Table Talk in the heart of Tel Aviv draws much of its inspiration from the 16th century European use of the restaurant’s name, which refers to a literary genre based on conversations and comments made by cultural figures, artists and politicians.
The vision of the restaurant, located on Dizengoff street right across the street from the shopping mall, is to be a place where culturally conscious Tel Avivians can come and enjoy lively conversation coupled with rich, decadent Central and Eastern European inspired dishes.
The three-story Bauhaus style interior lends itself to a minimalist and cozy design that succeeds in transporting the diner from a balmy Tel Aviv night into a ‘cosmopolitan bistro’ worthy of Saint Petersburg, Prague or Budapest.
On the night we dined at Table Talk, nearly all of the patrons were well-dressed, affluent and somewhat middle-aged Russian-Tel Avivian types. The restaurant seemed to cater to almost exclusively tables of three or more guests, as the diners seemed aware that this is not a place for an intimate date night, but for a lively social event. On a weeknight, the place was packed and spirits were high. There was so much conversation taking place, I couldn’t even tell you what kind of music was on the playlist. 
The place is open daily from the early morning with a full breakfast menu including morning favorites: croque madame, eggs Benedict and brioche french toast. Of course, Israeli standbys, shakshouka and their take on the ubiquitous Israeli breakfast, are also available. The restaurant remains open until the last guests find their way out the door.
The dinner menu is simple yet varied, with plenty of options to dive into some highly decadent territory. Salted fish, cheese and meat platters plus a generous handful of decadent dishes are offered up alongside a full bar and wine list that allows the diner nearly flawless food and drink pairings.
Our meal began with a rich and creamy cup of Jerusalem artichoke soup topped with smoked duck. The subtle flavors of the artichoke and even some truffle oil lingered pleasantly with the creamy broth. Immediately following with the polenta with botargo and asparagus, this was an upscale standard that was executed with a velvety rich creaminess that paired ideally with the crispy asparagus.
I can’t remember the last time I had bone marrow, but the version served up at Table Talk was rich, fatty and intense. After scooping out the gelatinous marrow, it sank neatly into the crisp, oily garlic bread which was served alongside the sizable hunk of marrow.
A welcome break from all the decadent creaminess was the calamari and black lentil salad. This was a light, yet complex dish that played around with a delightful variety of tastes and textures. The calamari was grilled to perfection and served on a warm bed of lentils, surrounding the dish were drops of cool, creamy yogurt flaked with fresh mint. A mouthful of all of these flavors sent my taste buds towards pure bliss.
The real winners of the night were, by far, the main courses. The tornado Rossini was an incredible cut of meat cooked to perfection. There was no need for extra embellishment from additional spices, as the dish itself brought us plenty of flavor and yes, it will melt in your mouth. Paired with this brilliance was the white mushroom risotto that sat comfortably next to their rendition of beef Bourguignon. Another rich and creamy delight with a comforting meaty dish loaded with flavor.
Somehow we managed to save room for dessert, which was also creamy and decadent. The semifreddo brulee was sweet and subtle and came with a perfectly baked almond macaroon. In addition, we also had a chance to try their semolina cake with freshly churned cream and seasonal fruit, sweet decadence indeed. These sweet treats paired perfectly with a pleasingly strong cup of cafe Americano.
Overall, this is a great place with great atmosphere with thoughtful and unpretentious service. The large groups of people gave it a fun, family-like atmosphere that sometimes tends to be lacking from most dining institutions, as most family and group meals are designated for the home. For those with itchy feet looking to take their desire for a night out with friends to the next level, Table Talk could be the right place to be.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Table Talk
Not Kosher
Dizengoff St 64, Tel Aviv
(03) 774-6655