We were looking for a night out. Some good food, a few drinks, and a little Tel Aviv atmosphere. In essence, a simple night, nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive. ‘How about Carmella, on Nachalat Binyamin?’ a friend strangely suggested. ‘Huh!? Chef Daniel Zach’s high end bistro in that gorgeous old white building?’ ‘Yup! They’ve opened a new Beer Garden out front. Check it out.’
So check it out we did. While Carmella’s new Beer Garden may not be the greenest garden in the city, it’s certainly the most unique concept this side of the Rhine. We sat ourselves at one of the white picnic tables, which make a charming foreground to the aforementioned white-columned colonial style building.
The Beer Garden boasts its own cool and casual concept. The house beer, Paulaner, is on-tap and served by the third, half or full liter. There is also a featured selection of Paulaner based cocktails with fresh ingredients like lemon, mint and strawberries. Because they were out of strawberries that night (it is July after all, and I haven’t spotted a strawberry in weeks), we ordered a 1/3 liter of beer and a couple cocktails. Reminiscent of a mojito and caipirinha respectively, the cocktails were served in tall beer glasses and their beer content added a very interesting element – especially for beer lovers looking for something fresh and unique.
The Beer Garden also offers a pair-downed, well-priced and perfectly suited menu all it’s own. We started with the cheese plate containing 3 types of top quality cheese: a blue, a hard cheese (a well-aged manchego, I believe) and a flavourful soft goat’s milk cheese, which had also been nicely aged. The cheese plate came with Carmella’s perfect house-baked rustic white bread and we also requested one of the famous homemade pretzels.
A bite into the classic pretzel inspired longing for yet another classic – Carmella’s homemade ikra. The well-loved super fluffy and salty ikra is also featured as a starter on the Beer Garden menu, and, like the cheese or deli meat plate, is excellent for sharing over some evening drinks.
In keeping with the German theme of the Beer Garden, main courses consist of various types of homemade grilled or boiled sausages with cold potato salad or warm spaetzle, along with a few other dishes. We decided on the grilled sausages with spaetzle – an Eastern European homemade noodle wonderfully flavored with lardons (little rectangles of bacon) and lots of black pepper. The 2 sausages were each differently spiced, one in a mild classic German style, the other much sharper in flavour, spiced with an assortment of secret ingredients which include smoked paprika.
We also enjoyed the calamari salad. Not particularly German, but certainly representative of Carmella’s Mediterranean influenced style, the fresh salad was chock full of small whole baby squids (or chipirones), baby spinach and a zesty dressing.
Though the special Beer Garden menu doesn’t contain dessert, the warm and knowledgeable staff is happy to offer something sweet off the dining room menu. (There are no set Beer Garden rules, so if you’d like something not on the special menu, say a glass of wine, or a dining room menu favourite, Carmella is happy to accommodate.) We chose the tiramisu, a generous square of rich mascarpone and cream.
With reasonable prices, a cool casual concept and a distinctly Tel Aviv location, Carmella’s new Beer Garden is sure to expose this well-loved restaurant to an entirely new clientele – best get there before all the white picnic tables fill up because the Beer Garden doesn’t take reservations.
Carmella Beer Garden
46 Hatavor St, Tel Aviv