Polenta to make my heart skip a beat - Machneyuda
Perfectly perched on the edge of the famed market (Machane Yehuda), this little den is inspired by the vibrant produce of its namesake and infused with its craziness and spirit. This place honours oldschool while buzzing with Balkan & Middle Eastern beats, impromptu kitchen orchestra action and a few broken plates by a chef who has had a drink too many… You will never have a dull night!
And so it turns out, neither is there a dull lunch. A little more subdued perhaps, and less spirits on the house, but still pumping, pulsing and plating beautiful meals which win you over morsel by morsel. We started with the mandatory polenta with mushrooms and asparagus, and parted ways for mains: one for the famous chamshuka/shikshukit, and the other for a delicate bowl of seared gnocchi in a smooth pumpkin and asparagus cream (dotted with chunks of pumpkin and asparagus too).
No such thing as a sweet-less meal here so today we went for the Milky Way, a highly sophisticated and decadent take on the 4.99 shekel Milki from the supermarket - layers of white and dark chocolate mousse, and crumbled brownies, topped with whipped cream; and a tarty lipsmacking lemon crème brûlée.
I was lucky to share this meal with Jess, my amazing friend who is visiting from Australia… We are quite literally eating our way through the country - today was Jerusalem, a few days ago it was Yafo. We still have Nazareth and Tel Aviv to hit up. There are some things that can only happen in Israel, and machneyuda as a culinary experience is one of them. It kind of felt like no better way to share what I most love about this tumultuous country. Bursting at the seams, full of character and flavor, intoxicating in a way that makes you forget everything outside for an hour or two as you enjoy great company and a delicious feed. And although you feel like you are eating off your grandmother’s dishes, there is no need to behave - lick fingers, stomp your feet, dance on your chair, break a plate & throw back some shots with your ridiculously cute barman!
Machneyuda|Beit Yaakov 10, Jerusalem 02-5333442
Note - book well ahead for an evening meal! If you want to spoil someone, request the kitchen bar seats… you get to try everything (set menu) and see all the kitchen action. For a regular night out, request the regular bar… the bartenders take great care of you there!