Someone asked me how would I describe Bertie’s food. According to their website it’s an Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with an updated and modern style. I would say their food is about having fun while eating fresh and local dishes with a little twist. We sat at the balcony overlooking King George street and the first thing that I came to realize was the professional waitress who served us. I think it probably effected our evening tremendously. I noticed the uniform which was almost tailored, the knowledge of the menu and especially the proficiency dealt with helping us choose a wine. It’s never an easy task (which is always directed at me for some reason). Everyone wants to get a wine, a good one, which will complement the meal, but no-one feels like doing the job of choosing it. Our waitress didn’t just repeated what she was told to say about the wine, I could tell she was wine-educated and really know what she’s saying. I like that about the restaurant. We ordered an inexpensive but very well matched bottle of white wine: La Javeline, Vouvray 2011 (France) (140 ILS). It was dry but extremely fruity and fragrant with a bit more complex flavors when it started to open up slowly.
Then the food – in one word: lovely. Nothing too fancy, nothing too complicated, but enough to make you want to lick the plate. The first dish we tasted was my least favorite dish of the meal. The Raw Sea Fish with Yogurt and Fresh Figs (56 ILS). Was okay, tasty but something’s missing there for me. Looking at the picture now, I can’t even identify the yogurt. Also, I believe that when a chef comes up with a three-ingredient-dish: all three should be superb and so the figs could have been the lovely dark purple type. Next, the Grilled Octopus and Pickled Arab Cabbage (59 ILS) was, I think, the table’s star for the night. It’s not a pretty dish but a true surprise. I’m not sure what was inside this cabbage cover but it was magic. Then arrived the Bread: Two types of Sourdough with Olives, Sour-cream and a Really Spicy “S’hug” Condiment (15 ILS). It was a small amount of bread but the olives and condiments were delicious.
For the mains we had the Hanger steak and stuffed onions (51 ILS for the half portion). The onions were excellent and “stole the show”. The beef wasn’t left too much behind – tasty and well cooked. The dish of Burekas with “Tulum” cheese, Turkish spinach and egg yolk (54 ILS) was another great dish, well made, quality ingredients and the yolk just poured out of there filled the plate like a sauce. On the plate there were two “sides”: Home Made Cucumber Pickles and Tomato Salsa. The pickles were nice (I love pickles) but the tomato sauce was a bit bland for me. Crystal shrimps, Jerusalem Artichokes and “el Arze” Tahini (89 ILS) was served with the shrimps’ heads, a nice simple sauce with Tahini and Jerusalem Artichokes – whoever came up with this combination had a genius thought. I liked it!
Then, my absolutely favorite dish of the dinner was the Veal Cheek, on Malawah and Goat Labane Cheese (90 ILS). The most comforting dish, with the fatty Malawah on the bottom, crispy from the outside and warm and soft in the inside, the meat just tearing from the long cooking, really tempting rich and tart Labaneh and some barely cooked spinach. I was impressed and this dish inspired me to cook a veal cheek dish of my own ( you can find it here).
For dessert we had the Bitter Chocolate Mousse and a White Coffee Sauce (38 ILS) that had us immediately check what a white coffee is (in Lebanon it’s a beverage made out of orange blossom). It was a nice ending though I think this dessert was a bit “not worked for” – simple with a twist but still too plain.
To sum it up: it was a delicious and lovely night. Unpretentious and fresh local meal. Priced very reasonably. Keeping high standards which is a big plus. Definitely want to revisit!