Thursday, September 23, 2004

Excellent food with a social conscience

The office sprang for lunch today at one of Tel Aviv's more interesting eateries. Lilit belongs to a rare Tel Aviv breed in that it is kosher, offering a top quality, Mediterrenean menu with a strong emphasis on fish, freshly made pasta and judicious use of herbs and spices.

The restaraunt also works together with Elem, an organisation dealing with delinquent and at risk youth, offering a vocational program teaching various kitchen skills. On each shift, five to six youngsters can be employed in the kitchen, two to four in the restaurant as waiters and another one or two at the bar. Our waiter was absolutely charming, friendly and knowledgeable about the food as well as speaking excellent English.

The general ambience is relaxed with jazz playing unintrusively in the background. It is elegantly laid out with a feeling of space and a large picture window to watch the world go by if that is your whim. An oasis of calm in the centre of Tel Aviv.

We opted for the NIS 47 business lunch (there is also a package for NIS 75 - still a great deal!) As a first course I opted for the wild mushroom risotto which was exquisite - risotto has a wonderful, comfort food texture and the addition of good sized pieces of fresh mushrooms worked really well. 2 of my companions joined me in my choice whilst the third went for the green salad with asparagus, tomato and porcini. The menu (which you can see at the website in Hebrew), also included such delights as "grilled peaches served with feta and rocket" and "spinach and green bean ravioli" amongst others.

My grilled salmon sandwich was excellent - very tasty and done just right. Served with rocket and green onions which (if I'm not mistaken) had been first briefly blanched and then finished on the the grill on bread baked on the premises, it is something that I will try to recreate at home. The fish soup sampled by one colleage was very tasty and swimming in vegetables and chunks of fish. My other colleagues were less enthused by there pasta served with buffalo mozzarella and red pepper sauce finding the pasta a little stodgy.

Dessert was not included in the price but for an extra NIS 20 I couldn't resist the anise infused ice cream served with a mini chocolatta and chocolate wafers. I was also more than happy to help out one of the company when she was unable to finish her wonderful, dense and creamy creme brulee.

The bill for 4 of us, including drinks and coffee, came to NIS 277. It will run you a lot more to go later in the day but the prices for the full menu still seem to be very reasonable to me. Eating there helps the continuation of this wonderful community project but this detail is certainly not the only reason why I shall be returning.

Lilit - 42 Rechov Mazeh, Tel Aviv, 03-629-8772


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