It was the first night of winter. It's true, we had already agreed to go to Rashale a few days ago, but we didn’t know that on that exact night, winter would begin, the temperature in Jerusalem would drop, rain would start falling and all we'd want to do was duck into a warm and comfy spot and imagine we were abroad. The first place that came to mind was London – the same closed in frozen feeling had wrapped itself around the centre of Jerusalem. So when I met up with my friend at Zion Square I asked her in the best British accent I could summon: 'Would you care to accompany me to Rashale's?' 'What's with you?' she quipped back laughing, 'let's go, it's freezing out here.'
As we entered the restaurant, we were immediately enveloped in warm colours of yellow and brown, then seated in comfortable armchairs and presented with a surprising menu of light kosher dairy cooking. 'All the dishes are cooked and baked on the premises, from local fresh ingredients without any preservatives or artificial flavourings' it was explained to us with a smile 'so you are welcome to start tasting.' We took off our coats and we started to feel warm and cozy as we got down to the business of decided what to try from amongst the salads, soups, pastries, quiches and pasta.
We decided to start with a Caesar salad and onion soup, with which we split garlic focaccia sprinkled with red onion and thyme. The focaccia, which looked picture perfect with its golden colour and decorative purple and green, was crispy on the outside, soft and garlicky on the inside, and served with three accompaniments: a ball of labane in olive oil and hyssop, roasted pepper and purple olives. The Caesar salad consisted of pieces of fresh lettuce, rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes covered in a homemade mayonnaise and garlic dressing. The salad was refreshing and accompanied by pieced of toasted baguette. The onion soup was served with green onion and toasted baquette. Brown in colour and caramelized in taste, the soup was the perfect medicine to fight off the winter outside.
For mains we ordered salmon ravioli in a butter sage sauce, and a leek quiche. The ravioli was served perfectly done and was delicately flavoured, with the butter and sage giving way to the taste of the smoked salmon in the filling. The personal sized round quiche was served with a side salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers on which there was a sweet honey Dijon dressing. The quiche crust was relatively thin, so it didn't interfere with the taste of the filing, and the entire dish was filling and a real treat.
We were full and satisfied. The weather, which had previously seemed threatening and depressing, had now turned romantic. The buildings in the centre of Jerusalem, which had looked gloomy and frightening, now looked a bit like….well, like London. We decided to finish off our meal, in honour of the British atmosphere, with a cup of tea and a brownie. At Rashale they have 13 types of loose leaf tea, served in stylish personal teapots. We trusted the staff to choose, and they selected an aromatic Earl Grey with jasmine. The brownie arrived hot and soft, chock full of walnuts and covered with powdered sugar, and was a perfect ending to our winter meal.
When we went back out into the cold Jerusalem air, we were so satisfied with the warmth, the atmosphere and the food at Rashale, that all that was left for us to do was remind ourselves that London wasn't waiting for us…
5 Havaztelet, Jerusalem.