Amit and I have been friends for more than 10 years. Back in the days when we were students in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem we had discovered Tmol Shilshom – a restaurant-café that since then has become a well-known establishment, and our favorite at that – a friendly hide-out that related to our love of books and good food.
Amit has moved away from Jerusalem a long time ago. Still, every once in a while, when he comes for a visit, we love going there together. It is named after author Shmuel Yosef Agnono's novel – Yesteryear, and located in a beautiful 110 years old stone construction, inside an inner yard at the heart of Nahalat Hashiva'a neighborhood. Again and again it feels as if we've entered the home of old friends or relatives.
Tmol Shilshom is divided into 2 separate rooms – vast spaces with decorated floors and arched stone walls. The furniture includes wooden tables and padded chairs, and throughout the walls a huge amount of books is set – classics and new titles. Diners are welcome to enjoy reading while eating or sipping coffee and/or purchase the books. In general it is a hall dedicated to Israeli literature and culture; open culture events include poetry and literature reading nights, all participated by young and veteran authors, poets and intellectuals.
We chose to dine at our favorite room, right next to Yehuda Amichay's armchair, the one he used on his visits. Out of Tmol Shilshom's decorated menu, which is covered in book covers, I chose to start with my favorite – David's 3 soups of the day - pumpkin and lentils; onions, croutons and Mozzarella; and sweet potato and sun dried tomatoes. Each of them was served in a small glass next to homemade bread with nuts and cranberries, and olive tapenade. Amit on the other hand just loves ordering a new dish every time he comes; this time it was the puffy chard fritters.
Then the plot began to thicken with Amit's eggplant, spinach and cheese lasagna in rich tomato sauce and my crispy filo stuffed with zucchini, cheese and mushrooms.
Our plates, decorated with beautiful literary quotations, were beginning to unfold when we discovered that they were offered for sale.
As Amit always enjoys a happy ending, we ordered with our coffee the homemade banana and nuts bread. This story couldn't have ended better.