Soft­est pita, finest hum­mus as Adelle serves best of Tel Aviv

Kyiv Post - - Business - BY ARTUR KORNIIENKO [email protected]

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

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