May 16, 2019
Hip, endlessly fascinating and blessed with a Mediterranean climate, Tel Aviv is one of the most vibrant cities on Earth. Alongside its thriving markets, buzzy cafe culture and impressive Bauhaus architecture, the city is also a global business centre, as well as a long-established nightlife hotspot. This weekend will see an influx of visitors from all over Europe and beyond, as the Eurovision Song Contest rolls into town for the fourth time in its history. But whatever your reason for visiting, one thing’s for certain – you’ll fall head over heels in love with the amazing food. We’re not talking about high-end restaurants or fancy European-style cafes, although there are plenty of those. It’s the street food and bakeries that intrigue and delight, where dishes full of flavour, character and colour linger in the memory long after you’ve returned home.
To find out more about the Tel Aviv street food scene we went along to The Good Egg, a neighbourhood restaurant in Soho, London specialising in Jewish-inspired comfort food, classic Jewish deli fare and the fresh, authentic flavours of the Middle East. The lively venue is the brainchild of Joel Braham and Alex Coppard, who opened their first restaurant in 2013 after having talked about it since their schooldays.
The concept was inspired by the friends’ dining experiences in the Jewish districts of San Francisco, London and New York, as well as the home cooking of Joel’s Jewish grandmother. It all started with a series of pop ups serving egg based dishes (hence the name) before Joel and Alex opened their first permanent restaurant in the north London neighbourhood of Stoke Newington.
With stacks of old favourites and new discoveries to draw upon, they put together a menu that celebrates the delicate flavours and vitality of the food found in Tel Aviv’s markets, bakeries and street stalls. The results are tantalising in the extreme, and a revelation to anyone whose knowledge of Middle Eastern cuisine ends at the hummus section of the local supermarket. Dubbed ‘Newish Jewish’ by food writer and journalist Felicity Spector, it incorporates all the ingredients, history and stories of traditional Jewish food: Healthy, light and wonderfully spiced, with plenty of salads, vegetables, silky hummus and tahina, and soft, oven-fresh flatbreads and pittas. Mint, olives, lemon, yoghurt, dates, figs, nuts and salty cheeses add an extra dimension to the mix. Much is vegetarian although fish and lamb also feature strongly, along with some incredible sweet brioche rolls laced with fig and date jam.
To understand why the cuisine of Tel Aviv is so special, look no further than the Fertile Crescent – the abundant, quarter-moon-shaped region stretching from the Nile to the Persian Gulf that’s been an abundant source of food since ancient times.
Here, the warm climate produces a fragrant supply of fruit and vegetables bursting with freshness and flavour, which form the backbone of these aromatic, traditional dishes designed to be consumed as soon as they’re made. As culinary experiences go, it’s up there among the best in the world, all waiting to be discovered in the backstreets and markets of Tel Aviv.
To visit Tel Aviv and discover this extraordinary cuisine for yourself, book yourself a trip to our newest destination, with flights beginning 25th September 2019.