At the Colony Jerusalem Salon

“The fillet was without a doubt the crown jewel of the evening. The cut was juicy and tender, prepared medium, seared with black grill marks, which gave it a wonderful smoky aroma…” Daniel Rom stretched out in the salon of restaurant and bar Colony, and truly felt that he had captured the essence of the Jerusalem experience.

I spent most of last weekend in Jerusalem. The morning saw us, my girlfriend and I, make our way towards the winding roads of the city. To mark the 40 year anniversary of Jerusalem’s re-unification, various parts of the city play host to cultural, musical, and theatrical events, colorful markets, and special menus are featured in many restaurants and coffee houses. We had it all pre-planned: a museum visit or a cultural tour of the city, a gallery or two, a stroll, and a visit to the Western Wall. Needless to say my schedule was too optimistic, and many sites were closed on the Sabbath. Still, the magic of Jerusalem disconnects one from his reality without much effort. It was strange, we felt like we were abroad.

The sunny morning escorted us into the narrow alleys. We entered through Yafo Gate and ascended the wall walkway which overlooks the city. We took in the breathtaking view, architectural structures of great beauty, an old Italian hospital and a folksy market. The Gold Dome shone amongst the mosques. The laughter of children mixed with the yells from a small soccer field. This time around, we made our way to the Western Wall through the Muslim quarter. It was twilight. Arab vendors urged us to buy their products. Aromas of cooking and spices flooded the market on the way to the Wall. After a short chat with the almighty, we were ready to take on a Jerusalem restaurant. We got on Beit Lechem road, looking forward to the restaurant-bar of Colony.

Colony restaurant is a modern combination of a bar, a restaurant, and a Salon. The d?cor, done under the direction of architect Amir Cohen and the decorator Shelly Friedman is impressive. The style is eclectic, combining different, at times opposing, genres which wind up flowing together harmoniously: gray, steely-cold concrete on the walls meets warm wooden furniture and reddish lighting. The entrance to the restaurant passes through a wide porch. The hostess leads us through a plush Salon: old and grand couches and sofas give off an air of nobility on the one hand and a homey feeling on the other. The rich bar exudes sensuous prestige: a red hot chandelier paints the young bar-side crowd. An additional upper bar overlooks from above the stairway. The intimate private-events room with its shiny white couches is visible through the glass walls. Tall bar tables are spread across the bar, for those who prefer them over the standard seating. The walls present a contemporary exhibition. Colony is chameleonic in how it simultaneously looks like a place for a business-meet, a night bar, and a romantic elegant bistro.

The jazz music played and gave the place a European atmosphere. The ravioli was refined, with an exact texture and rich, dominant cheese filling. The cream of leek and goat cheese was excellent. We savored the ravioli to its last bite, in spite of us making every attempt to save room for the rest of the meal.

For the main courses we ordered beef fillet in red wine sauce over a bed of puree, as well as an entrecote steak in wine. The two courses arrived accompanied by hot side dishes of brown lentils, saut?ed broccoli, and Jerusalem artichoke. After grappling with the issue, we decided to also order a salad of endives, roquette, and blue cheese. It was rich, fresh, and went well with the meat dishes. The salad had fresh fruit: plum, fresh orange, sweet Chinese pecan, and roughly-graded Roquefort cheese. It was all topped with vinaigrette and silan. We enjoyed every last bite. The fillet was without a doubt the crown jewel of the evening (in close competition with the dessert which I will describe momentarily). The cut was juicy and tender, prepared medium, seared with black grill marks, which gave it a wonderful smoky aroma. At first I only snuck envious bites at my teasing-companion’s plate, but these quickly turned into quick bites and later on a complete takeover of her meal. When the fillet was done, we turned to the