The long-established Tishbi Winery, on the road between Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina, is known for its excellent wines. It is also a popular venue for breakfast all week long but especially on Friday mornings. Now the chef, Austrian Gunther Biederman, is offering a new lunch menu, which I and my dining companion were happy to sample recently.The serving of lunch begins promptly at noon and not a moment before. There are several seating areas at the restaurant, such as outside under the vine-covered trellis with huge fans working overtime against the heat or in air-conditioned patios at large marble-topped counters.
We chose the cooler of the two options and perused the menu while two superb cappuccinos were placed in front of us.For an appetizer, I chose the eggplant salad with goat’s cheese (NIS 38). This turned out to be a hot dish (in terms of temperature, not spiciness). The warm aubergine salad was smoky and pungent, with melting blobs of salty goat’s cheese garnished with roasted plum tomatoes and pine nuts. Crusty whole-grain bread was served on the side, and the dish was very palatable.My companion chose beer pastry with Camembert and jam. (NIS 40). Pieces of buttered toast, baked or fried, were topped with slices of Camembert cheese with a garnish of wine jelly. As he loves Camembert, the smellier the better, he found that the cheese was not ripe enough, so the dish was quite innocuous and bland.We both chose fish dishes from the extensive main course menu, although there were plenty of pasta and pizza variations to choose from. The first dish was described as “fish potpourri” and consisted of three different fish: stone-oven-baked denise fillet( sea-bream), grouper and smoked fresh salmon, served with black risotto, saffron cream and julienned vegetables (NIS 145).It was a huge amount of food for a Friday lunch, but my companion was able to do justice to it. He pronounced the fish delicious and cooked to just the right level. The rice was flavorsome; and if the yellow tint of the cream sauce was not caused by real saffron, no matter – the cream was the real thing.I chose fresh tuna with potato croquettes and garden greens (NIS 152). The fish was quite rare – a little too rare for my taste buds – but I understood the need to undercook fresh tuna, as it can easily become hard and inedible if even slightly overcooked. Fresh spinach, green beans and broccoli provided a low-calorie accompaniment, and the vegetable glaze was piquant. The potato croquettes were piping hot and crispy.For dessert, we sampled the tiramisu and the lemon tart. Both were delicious, although the alcohol content of the former made me worry about driving home under the influence.Looking around at the restaurant adorned with old sepia photographs of the family on the walls, primitive agricultural implements on display and even a fly-trap string stretched between two brass chandeliers, one appreciates the earthy atmosphere and the feeling of being in a place with historic beginnings.For a good meal in unusual surroundings, Tishbi Winery is the place to go.The writer was a guest of the restaurant. Tisbi Winery Kosher Tel: (04) 628-8195 Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.