The other week I visited Israel for the Open Restaurants programme, showcasing the food and restaurant scene in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There were alot of highlights so I will have to divide the trip into a couple of posts. I’ll start it off with one of my favorite spots, Zakaim.
I’m very visual oriented so the fact that the Zakaim restaurant caught my attention isn’t really a surprise. The attention to detail and amount of love put into the creating of every corner of this place was just amazing.
The interior was all second hand and recycled.
Already from the outside there was a promise of the world behind the lace curtains with the stacked tin-boxes and chipped wooden table with wild growing plants.
The food was delicious. Beautifully presented in an unconfined sort of way. It had me eating almost all vegan for at least a week after returning home.
For starters we had this plate of fluffy hummus together with spicy pepper-salsas (the red one: matbucha) and carefully cut baby tomatoes. The bread was ofc warm.
The thing about the menu was that it had classic meat-references. Mushroom Shawarma for example, a hint to a middle eastern kebab-like dish usually made out of lamb or chicken but replaced with mushrooms. Or the Steak Lechem, the heart of arabic lettuce served with grated persian lemons and roasted sourdough.
The open kitchen had piles of uneven porcelain saucers with neat florals.
There were veggies literally everywhere, any nook and corner had some kind of root vegetable in it.
The sunny back garden.
Harel Zakaim, the owner and chef himself showed us how to stir up a vegan chocolate pudding. It was so rich in taste! My notes of the cooking above are a little indistinct though.. Anyways, the interesting part about him was that he was actually a butcher and chef specialized on meat dishes before opening Zakaim. Tiredness of the meat-industry however led him into experimenting with a vegan diet and had him applying the cooking techniques usually used on meat on vegetables instead. The rest is history.
The mousse was served with espresso, orange or sugared bananas by the way… yum!
The organic feel was present all over, even the fries were “hand torn” as said on their menu. In the pitcher above was a drink called “Shoshana’s Persian Soda pop” on the menu, it was basically a hand made syrup-based soda full of mint and lemon made by Harel Zakaims mother. Impossible to remake, this drink took hours to stir up and was perfectly balanced ingrediense-wisely. It was delicious: fresh, herb-y, sparkling and tasted very much like summer to a winter-ridden swede like myself.
The ceiling was patched with lace.
I loved the persian influences in the form of brocade velvety fabrics, crystal chandeliers and delicate curtains.
Perfect lunch spot.
Above is the menu favorit: flame-charred eggplant with tomatoes, chili, garlic, tahini and homemade challah bread.
I love this place! So inspiring in so many ways.
Zakaim Simtat Beit Hashoeva 20 / (Alenbi 98) / Tel Aviv, Israel / Tel. +972 3 613 50 60