A visit to the Inbal Hotel is like coming home except that the hotel is a lot more beautiful and the food is a whole lot better than at home. The new Inbal renovation has raised this gorgeous hotel yet another notch. And the Inbal 02 Restaurant with its beautiful decor and excellent food is its crowning glory. 02 Restaurant celebrates Jerusalem by its name and its unique cuisine. Legendary Chefs Moshiko Gamlieli and Itamar Navon together with the restaurant Chef Cherqui Franck have incorporated the unique Jerusalem flavors into each dish.
02 Restaurant is an elegant dining experience that will satisfy your aesthetic sense on all counts.
Set off behind a glass wall at the far side of the lobby, the 02 Restaurant has a private and exclusive feel. The interior is all shimmery and shiny, bringing to mind Jerusalem of Gold. There are plush upholstered chairs and couches throughout and beautifully set tables with touches of ethnic Armenian tableware.
Our Visit To 02 Restaurant
Warning: Never start a gourmet dinner with bread. You will be sorry, because you must save your appetite for the delicious dishes to come. That said, when the bread basket and the spreads were brought to our table the presentation was so lovely and the flavors so delicious, we violated this cardinal rule.
Not just bread, the basket came with several classic Jerusalem rolls and the ubiquitous Jerusalem bagels topped with sesame. The table filled with an assortment of dips and spreads. Just enough for a tasting, each of these spreads was creative and unique mixing classic Mediterranean ingredients such as tehina and honey, roasted peppers with walnuts, sweet potato, eggplant and more. Before served we were politely asked about sensitivities to any of these ingredients, a consideration not often extended. I was so taken with the spreads and dips, I would have been happy to make a whole meal of these dishes.
The 02 Restaurant Menu
If meat is your thing, you are in the right place. Other than a small selection of fish dishes and off-menu vegetarian options, the menu offers mostly meat dishes.
My dining companion spent a considerable amount of time deliberating between the many choices of meats.
Will he start with the beef soup or the starter special of the day, lamb stew? Our waitress, both charming and knowledgeable about each dish, was most helpful. Since he could enjoy a lamb skewer for his main course, he would start with the beef soup. That way he could have both of his favorites. The beef soup was a dark broth, almost a gravy, with chunks of soft beef and vegetables flavored with herbs indigenous to the Jerusalem hills. It made a hearty meal all by itself.
Vegetarian and fish alternatives were mostly off menu, and were recited by the waitress. I started with the zucchini skewers. This vegetarian dish sounded like the second prize till I tasted the zucchini . It was a wonderful dish that I have tried to reproduce, with only partial success, in my own kitchen.
Our Main Dishes:
Main dishes are chosen from either the Skewers or the Butcher Cuts menu. Butcher Cuts include Rib Eye, Beef Fillet and Sirloin. The exact cuts available depend on what the butcher delivered that day and your choice will depend on the size of the cut. The dish is priced in units of 100 grams.
Alternatively you can choose from the skewers menu. There are chicken, beef, fish or the non-meaty Jerusalem artichoke skewers. The skewers are priced individually, but normally a meal would be complrised of two skewers – mix or match. My companion chose one lamb shoulder skewer and one boneless chicken thigh (a.k.a pargit) skewer.
The tasty lamb skewer was flavored with pesto and a hint of coriander. Coriander is not one of our favorite herbs, but in this context it was quite pleasant. The surprise star of the evening was the pargit skewer, which was flavored with the house barbeque sauce made with date honey. This was really great, sweet grilled meat.
My companion chose makluba (or maqluba), the classic Middle Eastern comfort food, from the choice of side dishes. This meatless maqluba was rather dull and preferring a dish with more punch he made himself at home with my choice of Jerusalem Artichokes served on a bed of tomatoes and grains. This too was a tasty dish though I would have preferred more grains to tomatoes.
When we protested dessert, they were so disappointed they insisted on bringing us one anyway. A few spoons of the rich and delicious chocolaty dessert did not do it justice.
The private room at the 02 Restaurant for up to 12 guests
Parking: The hotel has underground parking. We simply said that we were at the hotel for dinner at the 02 Restaurant and we were admitted. There was no parking fee.
From the Menu: Starters and Bread NIS 32; Beef Soup, NIS 42; Slow Cooked Lamb Shreds, NIS 64; Yellowtail Sashimi , NIS 68; Skewers NIS 42 - 66. Butcher cuts NIS 52 - 62 per 100 gr.