As one who was born and raised in Jerusalem, I remember the museum as a sacred place. During field trips, we were deprived of all sweets and candies we had bought beforehand, when entering the museum. The connotation of museums usually has to do with cleanliness, quietness, and Do Not Touch signs. Food is usually not thought of in this context. And here – against all expectations, Modern restaurant is located inside The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Of course, it is not the only restaurant in the world to do that – take MOMA, Guggenheim, Pompidou Centre, The Tate Museum for example – all have restaurants on the premises. And one of the benefits of restaurants which are located inside museums is their design, and Modern's is impressive. It is inspired by 3 central artists: black, red and blue colors on the restaurant's wall influenced by Piet Mondrian and the Dutch De Stijl movement, Ameses chairs set around tables, while the space lightning takes from the Italian artist Ingo Maurer. A knights table divides the space into 2. A group of diplomats from the Czech Republic sitting next to it wear suits and ties, which gives the place a European touch. Things get a little warmer as the wine starts to pour inside the glasses.
Modern's kitchen is modern-Jerusalem. The menu corresponds with the different cuisines that created Jerusalem's gastronomic culture, and so one can find here influences of the Spanish, Ashkenazi, Arabic and Moroccan cooking traditions, and generously served dishes.
We had a variety of starters: the Tabule salad, that was made with an abundance of fresh spice herbs; cherry tomatoes were served on a bed of Phatush with touches of green chili pepper; great hummus; moist fresh "Prasa" Fritters served on a pumpkin cream; and tasty green falafel, inside which I could feel the mint freshness. The Carpaccio we had was just a little bit sticky, but the bread that came with it compensated, as it came fresh out of the oven.
For our entrees we ordered a beautiful Jerusalem mix. The meat was tasty and traditionally seasoned. Mullet fish was served with cooked chard in pickled lemons.
We had Pavlova for dessert, which came with great coconut ice cream on top, smelling of rose water that sent us down childhood memory lane. Another unforgettable dessert was an almonds cigar, made of phyllo and honey and filled with dates, all served with Tahina sorbet and date honey – we ended up licking the plates.
Service, it has to be said, was generous and pleasant, thanks to a staff of waiters that knew their menu and added a home-like feeling. You should definitely try it.