Lunch with dad. This time it’s my treat – hey, I’m a grown up now.
I am taking dad to discover tastes that he – being one who grew up on Wiener schnitzel and strudel – is simply unfamiliar with. However, to ensure the introduction to the land of Mount Ararat goes smoothly, I look for a restaurant that won’t smack him upside the head with a major culture shock. Rather, it should be a restaurant which will serve him unfamiliar foods in a familiar way: comfortable surroundings, heavy furniture, professional service, and clean tables and utensils – in short, a respectful European-styled setting. Taking these considerations into account, Tike restaurant, located in the Herzeliya industrial zone, was the perfect choice.
We stepped in to the lovely restaurant, with its colors of red, gold, and brown. We delved into our menus soon after being led to our table, located not far from the stylish bar. Dad looked at me, making it clear that I was in charge of ordering. For the sake of full disclosure, I should point out that I, much like my dad, didn’t really grow up on Turkish cuisine. To put it another way, we both ate from the same trough of schnitzels and cinnamon pastries. I smiled at him, trying to figure out what to do, when my genie arrived – much like the famous incarnation from the Aladdin tale, ready to fulfill one’s every wish – in the form of a kind waiter. “What do you recommend?” I turned to him with hope. He then took it upon himself to put together for us an impressive Turkish feast, at the end of which my dad proclaimed Turkish food to be simply wonderful, as was I, being the one who introduced it to him.
Plates filled with delicacies made their way to our table. Since we are a by-the-book people, we moved ahead, dish by dish, our curiosity for what’s to come growing with each one. The crown jewel of these openers was the ‘Mutbal,’ a warm salad of roasted diced eggplant in rich, thick yoghurt and finely-chopped pistachio. The rest of the starters were also fantastic, like the ‘Hichli Kofta,’ fine-flour dumplings filled with lamb meat, pine-nuts, and herbs. This dish is similar to the classic Middle-Eastern kibbeh, only the lamb meat flavor is more dominant and the dish is served with hot salsa and delicious tahini. We were also delighted by the ‘Guerda,’ a tomato salad with pomegranate and crushed walnuts, which makes for a very interesting and tasty variation on the classic Israeli salad. Who would have ever thought to add walnuts and pomegranate to tomatoes? We also had some ‘Pachanga,’ a phyllo pastry filled with vegetables, smoked meat, and mozzarella, which was crispy and delicious. The seasoning-herb salad in olive-oil and lemon-juice was noteworthy for the crispy almonds which added much flavor. We soaked up the sauces with thin, crispy pita bread, adorned with sesame and nigella, hot out of the oven. It should be noted that unlike other restaurants which serve mini mezze dishes, Tike seems to have put some thought into the matching the size of the table to the style of the meal, so that in spite of the large number of plates, the table-space never feels crowded, just spacious and comfortable.
After such a start, we were fairly certain that any entr?e we would select would be a safe bet. Once again, we put our trust in our genie, who recommended a lamb sirloin and “Ali Nazik.” We agreed and only later did we glance at the menu to see what we will be missing out on: the various kebabs. It became clear we would need to come back here again.
The cuts of sirloin in marinade were served on an elliptical dish, over a thick pastry layer and a mound of roasted garlic cloves. The meat was grilled medium and was succulent and delicious. One the side, we were presented with white rice, as well as slices of onions, chopped parsley, hot peppers, and roasted whole tomatoes. I recommend loading the fork with each of the aforementioned ingredients in order to create the perfect bite. The