Updated October 2013. December 06
Location, location, location. KEYARA, is located at the Windmill in Rechavia, a Jerusalem landmark dating back to the 1870's. Always a focal point, in 1935 the windmill became home to the German-Jewish architect Eric Mendelsohn, and in the 50's and 60's, the structure aptly housed the Dutch Consulate and was the Consul's residence. For many years afterwards, the building was unused. In 1987 it reopened as a small upscale shopping center.
In the last few years the picturesque windmill complex has housed various restaurants, most notably SHEYAN restaurant on the upper level of the complex. KEYARA restaurant is on the lower level, one flight of stairs down from the street.
The word KEYARA is Italian for enlightenment, and the restaurant is definitely a light on the restaurant landscape. But as can be expected it doesn't come easy and it does not come cheap. KEYARA is elegantly tasteful, understated, with clean modern lines. The large area (seating for 100) is ideal for family affairs and get-togethers. Catering is available during the day.
The venue is one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. The excellent staff presen an amazing innovative menu. The extraordinary raw ingredients meet the highest standards of kashrut. KEYARA is Mehadrin min HaMehadrin under the kashrut supervision of Agudat Yisrael. According to Uzi everyone can eat here without hesitation (except for Neturei Karta).
For our first course my partner and I tasted a delicious foccacia, with a zesty cumin aioli and a colorful green salad with rosey red pomegranates in a balsamic vinaigrette. Duck is a Keyara specialty (special mehadrin schitah for KEYARA) so for our first course we chose the smoked duck breast on a bed of baby lettuce and apples and ginger. The Duck was irresistibly fatty, as it should be. We balanced it out with salmon seviche which was about 0 calories, so no guilt pangs there.
For our main course we followed the waitresses suggestion and ordered one of the blackboard specials:Osso Bucco, served with a parsley and potato puree. It was a huge finger-licking good serving that did justice to the Med concept of the restaurant. For my main course I chose the duck confit. I may have O.D.'ed on the duck at this meal but duck is hard to find in our province. The duck was succulently cooked in its own juices and was so tender. But the piece de resistance, that came with this dish was a crepe filled with yet more chopped duck breast and smothered with a prune and brandy sauce.
There are also steaks on the menu and many with the exclusive KEYARA schita. Call ahead to find out when veal steaks are available. There are also fish dishes and the kitchen can always cook something up vegetarian. Tonight's special was pasta with zuchini, mint and vodka.
KEYARA desserts deserve a very special mention. If you are the kind that checks out the dessert menu before the main course, you are in for a real treat. Chef Hemdat Goldberg's specialty is baking and pastry. She and Elisheva learned the ropes at 1868 and at restaurants overseas and these extravagant desserts are worthy of special mention:
- Chocolate mousse on toffee and nut paste
- Orange beet tuille layers with chocolate ganache
- Panna cotta in cactus fruit and vodka soup with wine jelly
- Tahina semifreddo with carrot marzipan and pistachio comfiture
- Gombotz in a coconut and berry soup
- Quince in white wine with a delicate cake and vanilla ice cream
(NIS 39 each)
Come with a party of six, so as not to miss any! If you are like us, and choose dessert first, ask them to save you a portion so you won't be disappointed later. We had three desserts. I can personally attest to the chocolate ganache (to die for), The tehina semifreddo (to live for) and the Gombotz, which is from the Hungarian kitchen. It is a sweet kneidlach (my kind of carb!) in a coconut milk soup topped with berries, albeight out of season, though I wouldn't put it past Uzi to track down the real thing. My only regret was that I couldn't finish all three.
In our elusive quest to find the best restaurants in the country, KEYARA is a welcome new edition. The menu is a delight and fun to read and may choosing dessert be your hardest decision of the day!
Dinner for two, normal hungry adults will run about 450sh without wine. Save this for a special occasion, which in our household, with birthdays, anniversaries, guests from abroad, can be once a week!
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