"Famished at nearly 10pm, we had to decide if we'd prefer the truffle or blue cheese carpaccio. Cleverly, we chose both." Rachel Wagner – lover of raw food – makes good on a promise and enjoys a night out on Tel Aviv's alternative bar scene.
It felt like we'd been talking about Carpaccio Bar for ages. Even since they opened in a little storefront on Ibvn Gvirol, my partner in raw-meat-loving and I had been vowing that we'd pay them a visit 'next time'. A year and a half later, 'next time' had still not come. And then one night last week I said 'let's go check it out', to which Idan responded "Yeeeeeessss!" – which is how we ended up utterly famished at nearly 10pm trying to decide if we'd prefer truffle or blue cheese, on filet or sirloin (argh, decisions!) carpaccio. Cleverly, we chose both, along with a few other delectably raw selections.
We started out far from the classics, with the grouper carpaccio (or ceviche, if you like), a delightfully flavouful dish of not too thinly sliced raw grouper, tobiko, lemon and squares of an interesting sabra (prickly pear) and arak jelly. Like everything we went on to eat that night, the dish was so artfully presented that had I not been utterly ravenous, I would have admired it for an extra moment or two.
As a fish lover, I was thrilled with dish number one. Next came the goods for the carnivore to my right – tataki filet. Another new addition to the menu, the tetaki 'is set to become our signature dish' claimed Yossi, Carpaccio Bar manager and tataki fan. A few bites in, I could understand why. The seared and marinated meat had been sliced into thick rectangles and plated to encircle a papaya and blanched green bean salad. In addition to the expected Asian flavours of sesame and rice vinegar, the salad had a fiery spice that made it a standout.
Still hungry, we decided it was time to see about some thinly sliced raw beef. Salivating as watched our neighbour's dishes being prepared, we tried to distract ourselves with chatter and beverages – but my wandering eyes got the best of me (Idan knows better than to sit right on a food bar if he wants any attention at all), so we sat in silence for another 10 minutes gazing at Chef Asaf Doktor work his magic.
The truffle carpaccio, called 'Indulgence', lived up to its name. The bright red filet was splashed with an aged balsamic and truffle oil and generously dotted with chopped jarred truffles. Heavenly. The 'French Carpaccio', also filet, and said to be quite popular, was right up Idan's alley, combining two of his favourite things – meat and blue cheese. Having had my fair share of raw meat by this point, I nibbled at the hazelnuts (an inspired addition) and let Idan enjoy the rest.
Now after 11pm, Carpaccio Bar was starting to see a second wave of customers. In the city that never sleeps (take a stroll any old Wednesday around midnight and you'll see that Tel Aviv takes the crown) this concept bar is the perfect addition to the happening eat/drink scene. A year and a half after making their first splash, it seems that Carpaccio Bar is here for the long haul – and good thing, because I think 'next time' is going to come round much sooner.
Carpaccio Bar8 Ibvn Gvirol St., Tel AvivPhone: 03-6098118