Good food with good wine

Lunch at Tishbi winery was charming for all the senses

 (photo credit: DANNY GOLAN)
(photo credit: DANNY GOLAN)
It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place for lunch than the backyard of the Tishbi Winery and Restaurant, sitting under a vinecovered trellis which provides shade from the overhead sun.
Tishbi is a long-established winery not far from Binyamina and their wines are known both in Israel and abroad. But good wine needs good food to bring out the true quality of the beverage, so the Tishbi family opened a restaurant on the premises and serves breakfast and lunch throughout the week.
Having enjoyed a Tishbi breakfast on several occasions, when an invitation arrived to sample the lunch, we jumped at it.
It took 35 minutes from our South Netanya home to get there and although this was a Sunday – a working day in Israel – the place was crowded.
Although it was a warm day, several unobtrusive fans attached to the trellis kept the outdoor tables pleasantly cool.
While we waited for our starters we nibbled on marvelous chunks of very fresh whole wheat bread encrusted with sesame seeds made in the on-site bakery. With the bread came packets of butter and homemade pear jam. It was difficult not to fill up on that while waiting for the first course.
I chose melted camembert on toast, served with homemade fig jam and a salad of chopped apples (NIS 40). The pungent cheese went especially well with the sweet preserves which I think had been helped along with a dose of wine – only to be expected in a winery.
My companion chose a dish of roasted cherry tomatoes served with feta cheese and basil, with crisp pita on the side (NIS 58).
Although tasty with some garlic confit added, it was far too oily for my taste and the feta was unimaginatively served, just a fat slice on the top. If the chef were to crumble up the cheese and reduce the oil by 70% this would be a great dish.
For my main course I chose the king of fish, a salmon fillet served with crispy potato croquettes and assorted vegetables tossed in butter. The fish had a wonderful flavor – had it been marinated in wine? – and was faintly smoky (NIS 135).
The diced vegetables included kohlrabi, broccoli, carrot and zucchini – all excellent and al dente as they should be.
My companion chose fillet of grouper (NIS 152), a generous portion of three grilled fillets of the meaty fish, served on a delicious lentil mix – with braised endive as an accompanying vegetable. It was an excellent choice – and a very satisfying main course.
The wine was Chardonnay Special Reserve (2017) aged in wooden casks for three months. It was exceptionally dry, a young wine that was smooth, with the taste of the grape still discernible.
After a pause, we decided we had better try the desserts, which are all made at the winery too.
(NIS 30) I chose what could be called a mini-lemon meringue pie – a lemon mousse perched on a biscuit and topped with tiny meringues. It was very good, the lemon as piquant as it should be, yet sweet and comforting.
My companion chose the chocolate profiteroles, also delicious, the choux pastry, quite crispy and filled with Chantilly cream, the whole edifice topped with milk chocolate icing.
We also tried the homemade ice cream, which we found rather watery but a good choice for dieters, as it barely had any sweetness in it.
After our meal, we looked around the nearby store, chose some original ceramic gifts to take to England as well as several jars of the homemade jams as reminders of the high-quality meal we had just enjoyed.
Tishbi Restaurant
Road 652, Binyamina.
Open Sunday to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
(04) 638-0434
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.