Sheyan is located in
the historic Windmill on Ramban street in Rechavia.
What is an Asian restaurant doing in a Dutch windmill made of Jerusalem
A bit of history...The windmill on Ramban Street was built in the 1870's
by the Greek Orthodox Church and was used till steam-driven technology
took hold and drove the windmill out of business. In 1935 the German-Jewish
architect Eric Mendelsohn moved into the building, using the upper part
of the windmill (under the dome) as his study. It was there that he
designed a number of important Jerusalem buildings, including Bank Leumi
on Jaffa Road. In the '50's and '60's, the structure became the home
of the Dutch Consulate and the Consul's residence. After the Dutch relocated
the building was empty, and in 1987 it reopened as a small upscale shopping
Levi has now transformed this space into a Chinese Asian restaurant.
But Uzi did not start or stop with the food. Every last piece of furniture,
dish, utensil, art work, not to mention the cooks themselves, come directly
from the Chinese mainland. And what a collection! When I mentioned that
I would not mind buying some of the serving pieces (magnificent bamboo
steamer with metal decorations, I could tell that I was not the first
person to set my eyes on these items. Notice the handsome red lacquered
breakfront as you enter. Indeed - Uzi, who spends 2-3 months a year
in China, has plans to import not only furnishings, but traditional
Chinese herbal remedies as well.
is one of the largest restaurants in the city. The restaurant has one
dining huge space, a great outdoor terrace, and some smaller intimate
corners. The private party room, with a round table and rotating center,
opulent chandeliers, traditional Chinese porcelain, is a perfect venue
for a small family gathering or business meeting.
We like good Chinese-Asian restaurants because they are fast, efficient and not pretentious. Just good raw ingredients cooked to order at the moment. There have been all kinds of academic studies as to the affinity Jews have to Chinese food. One of the theories is the proximity of the Lower East Side to Chinatown. A more plausible explanation, more relevant to us today, is that Chinese food lends itself to sharing and family style. Having said that, the portions at Sheyan are more than ample, and if you do over order, as we invariably do, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a doggy bag to take home (Buffy loves all food).
We started our meal with two Asian cocktails, one Korean and one Japanese (the house specialty), called kira choaya (29 shekels). It was chilled exotic schnapps (plum liqueur and champagne), and hit the spot on a hot day.
I couldn't resist the won-ton soup. My adventuresome companion chose the unusual coconut vegetable soup garnished with spring onions that was delicious. Our other tagalong had a beef noodle soup.
While not specializing in fish, the restaurant has an extensive fish menu. There are at least four fish dishes on the menu including sea bream, mullet and bass. These are prepared either steamed but also with tempura. Most had hints of soy sauce and ginger. There is a complete sushi menu and only the freshest fish are used - salmon, yellowtail and red tuna. We ordered nagiri (85 shekels,10 pieces) and dim sums which arrive in a gorgeous wicker steamer with metal trimmings.
There are also very reasonable noodle dishes for 36 shekels. Here is where I should mention that Sheyan has its own noodle factory. We had grilled yakitori chicken skewers and an entrecote dish. The tagalong, aka daughter, was expecting steak! Now, we all know that in an Asian restaurant one should expect some sort of stir-fry!
Rice is ordered separately. Plain steamed rice is 12 shekels and fried rice with smoked meats goes for 46 shekels. Either one can suffice for the whole table. The rice was served in a very authentic bamboo boat.
Desserts are not the strong points of Asian restaurants. You will find the obligatory fried banana and mango, along side a good chocolate mousse garnished with wild berries and a coconut penne cotta. Refreshing sorbets can also round up the meal.
Bottom Line: Sheyan is a big, lively, busy restaurant with lots of positive energy. It has become a neighborhood favorite for Rechavia and Shaarei Hesed residents. Reservations are a must. Portions are generous and prices are very reasonable.
Soups NIS 20 - 25, Fish dishes from NIS 67-79. Business lunch 15% discount on regular menu.