"Tucked away in a quiet alleyway, lies a vegan-vegetarian paradise, all dishes are meticulously thought-out and of high quality, organic ingredients. This place is buzzing on weekends so be sure to book, especially for that place in the courtyard! "
Once upon a time ago, a restaurant belonging to a picturesque moshav moved to the big city. Today, maybe not with all its greenery, but tucked in a quiet alleyway in the neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek. Meshek Barzilay (MB) however, has maintained its charm and its use of organic, fresh ingredients. One is greeted by a welcoming entrance reminiscent of an old farm house with lovely French doors. Once inside, vintage flower prints are displayed on light pastel green walls and a chunky dark wood bar wall unit that looks as if it once belonged to a 1970s household only adds to its rustic charm. The first part of the restaurant has booth seating and an interesting fabric ceiling canopy. Leading from here and you find yourself in yet another part of the restaurant, which is more spacious and with a closed patio and facing (all glass) letting in a burst of natural light. Lastly leading to an outdoor courtyard, which is quaint and secluded from the rest of the restaurant, surrounded by pretty pot plants and fairy lighting that hangs from the glass interior, adding a romantic ambiance in the evening.
The menu features a bulk of nutritional carbohydrates and vegetables, and more importantly only vegan or vegetarian options are served. Gluten free dishes are also available and of course high protein meat-free substitutes like tofu and soy are plentiful. The specials menu differs according to the Hebrew months and also features seasonal ingredients, usually centered on various religious festivals. The fixed menu itself is quite eclectic some Indian, Asian and Italian influences throughout, so there is something for everyone, all dishes are clearly marked whether they are vegan, gluten-free or non-organic.
A table of 5 of us, we ordered The Farm Breakfast –eggs are cooked to your liking, my friend had scrambled eggs, which were light and fluffy, coming with dips of tahini, cheeses, pesto, jam and the not so typical Israeli breakfast dip of halva and honey (delicious) with a bread basket, a hot and cold drink. I had the Beet Tortellini which was lovely, garnished with rocket and some slices of beetroot in a creamy sauce with Swiss chard. The Indian Thali was flavourful and filling, the pumpkin chutney and riata made from soya milk a MB touch. Potato Gnocchi in a sage butter sauce was seasoned well, with added greens and cheese. The Veggieburger is great for those meat-eaters at your table! The patty is made from mushrooms, tofu and tempeh and served with a delicious homemade ketchup and vegan mayo with fries or rather large chunks of sweet potato wedges. The crème brulee was a large portion (much to my delight!) and had a chunk of caramelized slivered almonds that coupled wonderfully with the sugar top and velvety creamy custard. the pomegranate, apple and mint juice is a winner and they import the greatest ginger ale from the UK – Fever-tree, which is served in cute tin camping cups.
My fiancé and I have been several times to MB and it got a thumbs up from his vegan sister and her boyfriend. The Fiori de Zucchina (stuffed zucchini flowers) was out of this world divine, the vegetarian lasagna is also worth ordering, and is quite a generous portion. Their fruit shakes are excellent too. Also try out one of their specials, they are always tasty – we once ordered a stewed guava dessert with a halva ice-cream, and my only reservation about it was the fact I had to share it!
Our waitress was very patient and helpful when we inquired about several dishes. It’s highly advised to book for the weekends (especially a Saturday brunch, and I’d advise requesting to sit outside) – also during their busy weekends, you may find many drinks coming in smaller glasses or espresso cups for tea! Our waitress confessed that indeed they did run out of teacups! They are admittedly on the expensive side, but I have yet to have a negative dining experience at their establishment.
Business lunch is served Sunday- Thursday, between 12-5pm. They also cater for events over 20 people, and can accommodate up to 120 people, which makes it an ideal place for your bestie vegan friend Friday’s around 3pm, you have the added pleasure of some live music while you dine. The area is also quite nice to take a stroll and explore the many boutique shops, ending at Hatachana – Old Train Station.