On a very hot July afternoon, Shir and I made our way to Lattecini, a strictly kosher (Kashrut of Rav Rubin) dairy restaurant situated on Ibn Shaprut St. in Jerusalem.
When going to visit or review a dairy restaurant there are several names that immediately come to mind as potential dinning partners. One of my favorite partners in these cases is my younger sister Shir. Sure, Shir may not be as much as a fineshmecker (some simply say that I am spoiled) as I am, but when it comes to dairy Italian style cuisine, she really knows her way around.
On a very hot July afternoon, Shir and I made our way to Lattecini, a strictly kosher (Kashrut of Rav Rubin) dairy restaurant situated on Ibn Shaprut St. in Jerusalem. Lattecini was established some 18 months ago on the ruins of the veteran Velka restaurant. Head chef and restaurateur Yoav made aliya from the UK and decided to pursue his passion establishing a restaurant. Apparently, Yoav is a real foodie and at the age of 12 came in second in the British version of Master Chef. “At Lattecini we serve a very diverse menu and while the overall theme is Dairy-Italian, we also serve shakshuka, pancakes and New York cheese cake. My goal is to create balanced dishes and use fresh, high quality ingredients”. When asked about the limitations of cooking depending exclusively on strictly Kosher products, Yoav replied that “I don’t see this as a limitation but rather a challenge. Sure, there are some ingredients (like blue cheese) that I can’t use but this forces me to be creative. Our pasta is fresh, the desserts are home made and in most cases, there is no reason why kosher food should taste any different than non kosher food”.
As we were chatting, a friendly waitress placed two plates on our table, one with crispy sweet potato croquets served with tziki and the other with a quinoa based tabuleh style salad. The quinoa salad was OK and I personally would have preferred a bit more seasoning but the orange croquets were delicious. Filled with salty feta cheese, the sweet potatoes are first baked and then pureed, a practice that brings out the sweetness and earthiness of the vegetable. Next to arrive were two versions of baked salmon, a rather sweet mustard-honey-garlic salmon and salmon with tomatoes, onion, garlic and fresh herbs. The fish was cooked to perfection, firm on the outside while remaining pink and juicy within. We also sampled the spinach ravioli in a tomato and cream sauce (salsa rosa). The uniform dumplings were cooked al dente and were very tasty - it was evident that Lattecini takes their pasta seriously. Another one of my favorites was the Lattecini salad, a light and refreshing summery salad based on fresh greens, cranberries, candied pecans and deciduous fruits all topped with a tangy cranberry vinaigrette.
A nod of approval from Shir and it was time to move on to dessert – New York cheesecake and an order of chocolate sushi. The cheesecake was rich and creamy just as one would expect from a NY style version of this popular dessert. The sushi was quite interesting – Yoav substitutes the traditional seaweed with chocolate brownies and the fish/vegetables with vanilla ice cream. By the way, Lattecini also offers catering services for up to 400 people and pre cooked food for Shabbat.