This past week I was invited by the Inbal Hotel to come and review their pop-up restaurant based in the courtyard of the hotel(Kosher mehadrin). The Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem is going through many changes: building new rooms, renovating the old ones and having a new head chef orchestrate the massive amounts of food that gets served, on a daily basis. For a chance to win a dinner for two at the restaurant, there’s a great contest going on between the Inbal Hotel and Itraveljerusalem, the city’s official tourism division. For more info, click here. The contest is until Aug 10th so hurry up and tag away!
Now back to the Inbal. The Head chefs name is Nir Elkayam, a very passionate chef who loves to take classic dishes from around the world and give them a Middle Eastern spin on them. I was very lucky to sit down with him and talk about food in Israel and at the hotel in specific. When I asked him, what’s behind the concept of the pop up restaurant, his answer was: The idea is to have a fun culinary experience, not to be to fancy and just to enjoy the purity of barbecued meats. Here is a recipe he shared with me for his sweet potato salad that he serves at the restaurant:
- 2 Sweet potatoes sliced into wedges
- 1 red onion sliced into wedges
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
- pecans for crunch
- Pre-heat oven to 230c.
- Place the Sweet potatoes and red onions in separate baking trays and sprinkle the salt, pepper and olive oil over and put them in the oven. Let bake for 18 minutes.
- Let cool down and add the pecans and sweet chili for garnish.
The concept is for 190 shekels, you get an all you can eat barbecue experience with six types of meat and a plethora of salads. We sat in the courtyard of the hotel which gives you that backyard feeling to the meal, but with real dishes and tablecloths, live music and the service that is top-notch.
We sat down and started with the salads: Asian eggplant, fresh-baked focaccia bread, artichoke salad, sweet potato basil salad, home fries and the list goes on. Very fresh and very tasty, each salad stood on it’s own and was unique and presented well. After the salads came the meats. We were offered two types of chicken: the breast and the pargit(thigh meat off the bone). The chicken breast coated with a simple herb blend was very moist, which impressed me because it’s very easy to dry out. The pargit had and Asian flare to it and was nice. Then came the kebabs and chorizo. The kebab had a kick to it but the chorizo didn’t. They were very standard. Then came the short ribs and entrecote steak. The short ribs were good but lacked seasoning as well as the steak, but when you add either the mustard sauce or chimichurri to them it elevated the dish to another level. For dessert we were served watermelon which was nice as well. All in all the meat experience was nice but very standard.
The pop up is open until after sukkot(late September). All in all it was a very nice experience if you are looking for a different type of dinner in a very nice location with outstanding service, so go and enjoy!