First Impressions: A few hundred metres south of Jaffa gate, along Hatifat Yerushalayim (Rte 60), sits The Eucalyptus. Anchored by a repeat-winner chef-owner Mr. Besson, it offers an eclectic but solid kosher Israeli and Middle Eastern menu.
PROS: Location is one of its best assets. Focused on indigenous Israeli ingredients but with a biblically-inspired twist, the food is reportedly its forte'. Of the tasty appetizers, try the large figs stuffed with chicken and smothered in a sweet-tangy tamarind sauce. Or the heavenly Jacob & Esau's biblical red lentil stew. For the main course, I loved the exquisitely-soft, claypot-baked lamb with herbs and vegetables (apparently slow-cooked overnight). Food presentation was creative and appealing, like the ones we normally associate with gourmet dining. Ambience is informal but intimate. Service is friendly and welcoming; the chef often does his rounds of visiting each table to compare notes or share stories. The staff even accommodated for vegans in our group.
CONS: The portions were generous, except for The Trio of Soups served in tiny espresso cups (No doubt aiming for quality than quantity.) Ranging from £13 for the Veal Kofta to £25 for the Oven Baked Lamb, it is not for the budget-conscious diner. Not open during Shabbat.
Verdict: Definitely worth a visit. May not be the best in Jerusalem, but no doubt in the top five. Make a reservation ahead of time, perhaps request the small Taster's Menu. Recommended. Grade A-minus.
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