by Sybil Kaplan
Photographs by Barry A. Kaplan
Blue Hall Music
Yoel Solomon 12, Nachlat Shiva
Hours - Sunday through Thursday 12 noon to 3 a.m.;
Friday - noon to 2 hours before Shabbat begins;
Saturday evening - 1 hour after Shabbat ends to 3 a.m.
Kashrut - Mehuderet (Mehedrin rules but not related to a specific rabbi)
Walk down the steps near the Kikar Musica stage, through the door and you are
transmitted into a cave-like atmosphere with white curved walls, a lot of Jerusalem stone and violet-blue lights.
Straight ahead is the longest bar I have ever seen, fully stocked, with 12 stools; turning slightly to the right are tables for 21.
Come back to the entryway and walk past the picture windows looking into the tables of the bar area.
Next is the large seating area for 47, with a stage at one end. Off the stage area is a small party room for 12 with blue drapes and blue lights.
Back to the main room and down a hall, there are tables for 14, then a back office area looking into the kitchen. Downstairs is a party room for 60 and a place for karaoke.
Tables are white with white padded chairs, and plants in red flower pots sit on ledges around the room as the primary décor.
Music plays in the background to add to the atmosphere.
Our host, Yogev Nativ, one of the managers since the restaurant opened, is responsible for the bar and stage. Owner is Eodad Unger.
Nativ tells us Blue Hall Music was a bar for 30 years known as Blue Hole bar, a hole in the wall with a large courtyard, which Unger bought in 1993. Then he initiated renovations and went "under ground" which became this kosher, gourmet restaurant.
Three nights a week, there is live music--Monday, beginning at 9.p.m.; Thursday, beginning at 11 p.m.; and Saturday, beginning at 10 p.m.
The menu offers 6 first courses and is called "opening record"; these range from NIS39-NIS54 NIS. Salads (5 choices) are called "the symphony of the garden" and range from NIS32 to NIS56. There is also a soup of the day which, the night we attended, was pumpkin.
There are 14 main courses ("the concert"), ranging from NIS 56 to NIS135 plus two for two people to share.
A cardboard phonograph record lists liquors (gin, vodka, rum, anis and 6 more), 11 liqueurs and cocktails.
On the back of the regular menu are beers, soft drinks, apertifs and local cocktails.
If you are just sitting at the bar and want a snack, there is a snack menu with 4 sandwiches (NIS38-NIS59); 5 tapas on a plate for NIS 99; and 5 others snacks(NIS29-NIS39).
Sous-chef Vladimir, a graduate of the Tadmor school and working here for two years, chose the foods for us to sample.
Waitress Miri, a charming, knowledgeable and restaurant experienced young woman, kept us informed.
Our first starter was the regular-size Sea Fish Ceviche (NIS 49) with cherry tomatoes, red onion, radishes, and coriander with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. These sat on a green eggplant cream and came with ciabetta toast. Tonight's fish was a very tasty ocean drum, without a fishy taste.
Next came a regular-size Beef Fillet Carpaccio (NIS 49) with nut oil and Balsamic vinegar, garnished with walnuts - a unique presentation and delicious to eat.
Salmon Tartare is usually wrapped in avocado, but tonight this regular-size version was on small toast (NIS 54). It was seasoned with yuzu (an Eastern Asian citrus fruit, popular in Japan), soy, ginger, and red onion on a sweet mango cream--quite unusual and delicious.
Moving on to main courses, a regular-size Salmon Fillet (NIS 105) was served with a mold of Biryani rice, peas and carrots and a separate coconut and curry sauce which was a little spicy. (Biryani rice is a mixed rice dish of Pakistani/Indian origins.) The rice mold was very attractive and good tasting, and the salmon was nicely cooked and also not fishy tasting.
A half portion of Beef Ribs Stew with roast vegetables and plums cooked in red wine and sitting atop mashed potatoes (NIS88) was a true melt-in-your mouth eating experience. The roast vegetables and plums were a nice combination.
Finally, in French eating style to cleanse the palate before dessert, a half portion of the Caprese salad (NIS 49) was served. Included were cherry tomatoes, eggplant cubes, fried pita chips, tahini and a poached egg on top. This is a great choice for those who love tahini as it was very strong but all in all an interesting blend of flavors.
Miri told us she was the dessert menu (all are NIS 34) offering soufflé with pareve ice cream, apple crumble with pareve ice cream and a platter of 4-5 chocolate cakes with raspberry sorbet. She surprised us with the chocolate petits fours (bite-size sweets) on a plate garnished with cocoa powder with the sorbet. Chocoholics, take note!
If you are looking for an unusual experience in dining and ambience, Blue Hall Music is a special place to try.
The author and the photographer were guests of the restaurant.