Who would have thought that someone could reinvent the shwarma? Well the owners of Bandora shwarma did. Bandora (Badatz beit Yosef) is a new shwarma chain that has been around for less than a year and has really made an impact in the fast food world of Israel. The concept of theirs is to cook the shwarma open a horizontal fire pit. Just like in south american BBQ style. Over an open spit slowly rotating and letting the fat drip so the smoke really penetrates the meat and enhances the flavor of the meat. Unlike your standing shwarma joints who all do the same thing, they really have a winner here.
Every Bandora shwarma is franchised with guidance from the home office so wherever you go it will taste the same, and I can tell you, that is absolutely true. I have eaten their shwarma in Kiryat Gat in the south and in Jerusalem as well, Everything is the same. The layout, flavors, service all the same. So far I have tried two of the ways they prepare the shwarma. One is right off the spit into a pita or laffa bread, the other is where they cut it off the spit and give it a real nice kick with some heat.
Let me explain a little more about the shwarma, the meat has a real nice smoke flavor to it, the laffa bread is very durable and is able to hold the generous portion that they give each customer. The condiments are made in-house, not the hummus though, but the schug, tehini and all the sides are prepared in-house. The pickles have a great crunch, the cabbage is sweet with a touch of vinegar and the fries are industrial, but no ones perfect right.
I have to declare that Bandora shwarma is definitely one of my top 5 shwarma joints in the city of Jerusalem. Every Bandora around Israel is Kosher! Everything is just great there from the way they present the food, to the take away even. It is a bit on the pricier side on the shwarma circuit, but it’s definitely worth the money. So if you find yourself in the area with a branch and are looking for a fast bite, I highly recommend it!
The first time I had even heard of Jem’s(Kosher rabbanute) was on the way to my bachelor party. My friends mentioned this bar that makes their own craft beer and serves kosher food that is all made from scratch, I got excited. This was 6 years ago and I had a merry time. Problem was I didn’t remember how good the food was because the beers were amazing! So I met up one Saturday night with my friend Mitch and wanted to try the one that was recently open in the new market of Kfar Saba. (They have another location in Ra’anana as well)When we got there we encountered a problem, it was first come first serve and the place was packed, and the waiting list was ridiculousness. So we took a detour and went to their original spot in Petach Tikvah. The same place I enjoyed my bachelors party. Really enjoyed!
I was determined to get a table so I called on the way from Kfar Saba, and sort of gave them a guilt trip to letting us have a table. And it worked. So the hostess leads us to are table and we get our menu’s. The ambiance at Jem’s is a modern gastro-pub with very dim lighting and music that’s a bit loud. Big vats of fresh beer brewing everywhere, a foodies paradise.
Taking a look at the menu, I remembered last time I was there I ordered the variety of homemade sausages and onion rings, but didn’t remember what it tasted like so I ordered it again. Mitch ordered the half a BBQ chicken(he was loosing weight at the time and now is running marathons!) and we shared a plate of pate(chopped liver) with homemade pickles. Oh and of course we had to have the homemade brew! I had a pale ale as did Mitch.
I was so happy when the food came! It looked so appetizing and guess what, it tasted just as good! The sausages had a great snap and was packing really good meat flavors. The real deal, as were the onion rings, battered in a delicious crunchy coating that was a great compliment to the sausages. The beer was a great compliment to the sausages as well. The pate was one of the best I have had, it was creamy and full of flavor, and you can’t forget the homemade pickles that were just amazing. Mitch said the chicken was very flavorful and moist, and you need moist chicken otherwise it’s like eating plastic.
It was a great meal that was a bit pricey, but if you are already going out to a place like this you might as well enjoy! Not many places like Jem’s and if you find yourself in the area of any of their locations, give it a try.
Jem’s, HaMagshimim St 15, Petah Tikva 03-919-5367