First Impressions: Who requires a restaurant reservation weeks ahead in Jerusalem? This does. Our tour guide had made a reservation to this trendy restaurant a week before and still we nearly lost our spot. Located a couple of blocks behind its namesake market, the small "hole in the wall" place is nothing but. Everything is cranked up a dizzying, off-the-chart scale: the food, service, price, even the music.
PROS: Helmed by three pedigreed chefs, the restaurant's food is reportedly its forte'. I loved the creamy, truffle-infused polenta with crab, crunchy mushrooms and shredded Parmesan cheese. This was followed by the equally delectable Pile of Seafood, all deliciously tender and not a bit overcooked. (Overcooked squid becomes chewy, but not here.) The sensory experience was climaxed by the rich Chocolate Poison -- chocolate brownies, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and topped with chocolate fudge -- a chocoholic's drug fix. Ahhh... The food presentation is both creative and showy, like the ones we normally associate with gourmet dining. Each dish is an excellent fusion of colours, aromas, textures and flavours.
CONS: Not exactly for the budget-conscious diner. Ranging from £16 for the roasted chicken to £30 for the filet mignon steak, the gourmet dining experience is thus reflected in the Hollywood celebrity-level pricing (read: very expensive). Moreover, do not expect a quiet, laid-back, low-key meal. The ear-splitting, 120-decibel house music, operatic waiters and pot-drumming chefs all contribute to a deafening good vibe and exuberant dining atmosphere. Our group could barely hear each other. (Here, the management is unapologetic. This take-it-or-leave-it attitude may be misconstrued as being pretentious, as in trying to be like a Tel Aviv hotspot, but I don't think so.) Lastly, the restaurant is closed on Shabbat.
Verdict: If you could get past all this noisy din and stratospheric prices, it's actually a nice place to try. Reserve at least two weeks in advance, maybe asking for the Chef's Tasting Table. May not be the best in Jerusalem, but no doubt in the top three. Recommended. Grade A-minus.
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