Sometimes happiness is waiting for you just around the corner, and you haven’t even got a clue. Sometimes the greatest treasures are right under your nose, in the place you least expected to find them, and maybe it’s cause you never bothered looking.
My friend D was celebrating two important events – the birth of his new baby the day after his own birthday. I wanted to get him out of the house for a little celebration. In the next few years to come he can pretty much forget about celebrating his own birthday, because the little one will grab all attention from both family and friends due the closeness in birth dates.
Taking him too far away from home would have been impossible (he needed to be within a 60 second run from the baby), so we went to The Streets on King George due to its proximity. Upon entry we also got a little tour, because the space offers a few separate areas, each of which is as inviting as the next, and each with a slightly different feel. The gallery on the upper floor (which we almost missed) is a large space offering a homey living room feel, a place you could host a small party of friends without being stuck with the dishes the next morning. The ‘living room’ was full, so we headed back downstairs and chose to sit at a table – though the bar looked appealing.
We had a short conversation with the hostess, who noticed our interest in the bookshelf next to our table. She told us about a project called “A Returning Story” that The Streets is involved in. Basically, it’s a social-ecological-restoration project. In principle, D and I are fans of places with a social agenda, so The Streets had already managed to rack up some points before we’d even seen a menu. During the conversation, the hostess updated us on some more interesting facts – which is that The Streets is open 24 hours. Slowly but surely we started understanding how it works. At The Streets they wanted to create a multifaceted place, that gives you the feeling that you’ve arrived at the right spot whether you were looking for a café to eat breakfast, a trendy restaurant for business lunch, a neighborhood pub for some quick drinks before a night on the town, or a place to end off that raging night.
In terms of drinks and food, the tight menu gives a wide range of flavors, with a pared down and high quality selection. Some examples perhaps? If you please: beer on tap – one type, but a good one (Stella Artois); red wine – there are only three, but there is something to suit everyone – an Israeli, an Australian, and an Argentinean (and no, that isn’t the start of a joke, but the beginning of a fun and unpretentious night). The summery winter we’ve been having inspired us to refresh ourselves with some cava (the refreshing and excellent Xenius), but when we come back in spring (and we will be back, in summer too…) we’ll opt for the ultimate summery choice – the mojito and the caipirinha (the cocktail selection is also limited, but excellent.) The cava, served in an ice bucket, as is traditional, was accompanied by my sighs of pleasure. We sampled some excellent antipasti – vine leaves, grilled eggplant and peppers, and wonderful green tehina with a secret ingredient that we couldn’t figure out. Swiss chard and cauliflower pancakes, famous as the house dish, revealed themselves to be truly brilliant. Another bit of brilliance, somewhat surprisingly I must admit, was the dish of lasagna. It arrived camouflaged as a triangle toasted sandwich (probably due to the shape of the pan) but was actually a lasagna rich in ingredients and flavors that burst with meat, cheese and béchamel sauce as soon as it was pierced with the knife.
Once we’d satiated our hunger we were free to look around a little. The clientele is mixed – tourists (or more accurately, cute female tourists), nonchalant neighborhood young people, some students and even some business people who come with their laptops to work – or at least to give the impression that they are working. While we talked we let the cava do its work in our bloodstreams, giving thanks that we didn’t have to drive home. And just to be safe, we enjoyed a shot of espresso for the road (Barisot, short and deadly) and a dessert of divine nutella mousse.
2 Hanevi’im, at the corner of 70 King George Street, Tel Aviv
Tel: 03-5686888, 077-3511513