Softest pita, finest hummus as Adelle serves best of Tel Aviv
You may feel like you are visiting a friend in Tel Aviv at Adelle — a new restaurant of Israeli cuisine in central Kyiv.
The friend leads you through the vibrant street food scene of the Mediterranean city, brings you home for a lush homemade meal with dessert and takes you out for an unexpected cocktail.
Such eats and drinks are available at Adelle in an interior that combines street elements like vintage posters and loudspeakers with home decor and assorted tableware. There is lots of Mediterranean greenery as well.
The latest in the restaurant chain owned by the Gusovsky brothers (Osteria Pantagruel, Pizzeria Napulé), Adelle opened on March 1 at 29 Velyka Vasylkivska St. It adds to the assortment of restaurants offering national cuisines on what is one the busiest dining streets in Kyiv.
Adelle is also just a two-minute walk from Lva Tolstoho Square and the metro station there. But having such a prime location, the restaurant has not yet become too busy. On a weekday afternoon, my colleague and I found a table with no reservations. Adelle has two floors and lots of seating.
There is no sign outside yet, but the place can be recognized by the huge white-framed windows bigger than the entrance doors. There is also the large house number 29 painted on the facade. Part of the entrance is also the vestibule with floor tiles featuring the Star of David.
But the first thing you see when you enter the restaurant proper are the wooden crates with fresh vegetables. There is eggplant that will be roasted on coal and served with feta cheese and tahini, a paste made from toasted sesame seeds. Tahini also complements the restaurant’s baked sweet potato with Narsharab pomegranate sauce and thyme.
Also in the crates is the cauliflower that has become the restaurant’s prized specialty, developed by its chef Alexey Krakovsky, who lived in Israel for over 15 years. My colleagues’ friend said it was delicious: baked with tahini and sumac, a purple-red Middle-Eastern spice with a tart lemony flavor.
But we were in Adelle for the Tel Aviv gastronomical experience. Welcomed by at least five waiters (there’s only so many “hellos” an introvert can take), we were seated on the second floor. There we could get a good look at the arched top of the restaurant’s custom-made windows. They remind me of a lotus flower or the broad branches of a cedar tree.
I thought about Lebanon, where the cedar tree is the national emblem. So I ordered a tabbouleh salad of finely chopped vegetables and greens that originated around that country. Adelle’s version has quinoa instead of traditional bulgur and some black lentils — all served on a guacamole mousse. With diverse flavors and ample portion, this Hr 195 salad is close to being a full meal.
My colleague ordered a street food classic — a falafel pita sandwich for Hr 119. But the waiter misunderstood and served the falafel as a separate dish with tahini. This was the only blemish on the near-perfect service we were given at Adelle (that is, if you don’t mind the corridor of “hellos"). Also a clear indicator of good service in Ukraine is free water at the tables, which Adelle has.
The waiter corrected his mistake by bringing a pita bread separately. But later we got charged extra for that pita.
My colleague then had a lamb kebab that comes with fried vegetables and hummus for Hr 248. This way we tried the triumvirate of Israeli street food at Adelle: falafel — succulent with cilantro, parsley and mint; pita — soft and spongy; hummus — the richest and creamiest I ever had.
I have less to say about the shawarma made of European bass fish for Hr 298, which was rather bland. The garnish of the preserved lemon yogurt, mango amba sauce and tomato foam did not save it for me. My colleague liked the kebab, though, that was “juicy and just the right amount of spicy.”
While we waited for desserts, I contemplated the music — the often-overlooked element of the interior design. What you hear is some Israeli pop music, something I imagine you would find at the cafes of Tel Aviv. I’m not an expert, but there may be some music in Arabic too. It adds to the atmosphere, provided the playlist gets updated often enough.
Anyway, any atmosphere can be improved with an alcoholic cocktail, of which Adelle’s bar has 10 kinds, all for Hr 180. The specialty is the Promised Land cocktail that includes gin, orange liqueur and sherry. There are 12 kinds of wine, including the Israeli Mount Hermon Yarden red and white, each Hr 775 for a bottle.
For those having a sober lunch, the restaurant offers house-made sodas: cherry, tarragon and ginger. They are fermented without the addition of stabilizers and syrup.
Despite us being quite full, the deserts were a welcomed treat. Adelle’s Malakota, the mix of the muhallebi milk pudding and the Italian panna cotta, is a nice fluffy dessert with raspberries for Hr 125. But if you want something more filling, try the tahini and white chocolate mousse for Hr 185. It’s full of crumble cookies, mango coulis and berries.
Overall, Adelle is not cheap for Kyiv, but the portions of its meals are almost enough to have as a separate meal. The abundance of different ingredients and flavors makes it very much worth the price.
Adelle's waiters speak English and there is an English-language menu. But there is bad news for those who adhere to kashrut: the food at the restaurant is not kosher.
The women’s name “Adelle” given to the restaurant is actually not of Jewish origin. But its very Israeli, because it’s one of the most popular baby girl names currently in the country.
In a similar way, the restaurant doesn’t try to copy the traditional food of Israel. Instead, it tries to capture the evolution of the popular food in the country, adding the chef’s masterful strokes. ■
Kyiv's new Adelle restaurant offers the food of Tel Aviv. The restaurant's menu combines dishes of Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and other Mediterranean countries. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin) Adelle 29 Velyka Vasylkivska St. 9 a.m.— 11 p.m. +38063132 7890