Last night we went to Shakuf (שקוף). It’s a relatively new place with conflict reviews going on, so I wanted to say my own thoughts.
I was convinced we have to go because the owner and chef Eldad Shem-Tov is a FCI graduate and another chef Elad Shmueli graduated from Ferrandi in Paris. We had bought 4 coupons for the occasion to be more reasonable expenses wise.
We got a very warm welcome getting in and the host kindly changed the sitting for us from high bar chairs to lower table as we wished. One can not ignore the design of the place, but we had a hard time putting the right words to it. It was certainly not all cold high-tech style but was not cozy or elegant. We finally decided it was a “Jetsons meet Flinstones” kinda place. The fact that the tables had an under projector light made my pictures look better so I liked it. 
The sommelier suggested a more expensive wine then the one we had thought but we went for it (Kfir Chardonnay) and it was nice to my under educated wine pallet.
Next we got the food menu and had a choice of either a tasting menu for 285 NIS (about 85$) fixed price per person or ordering a la carte. Being 4 people we were not allowed to take 2 tasting menus and the rest a la carte so we decided to order ourselves. It was quite easy, we only chose one dish not to take. The waiter recommended to pass on the chicken-pistachio claiming it’s a timeless dish that will certainty be in the menu next time we’ll come.  So we took everything but the chicken (4 appetizers and 4 main courses).
The bread came freshly made inside a wooly bag that reminded everyone of something else. I saw the Snufkin hat in it. Tolkien was another thought. The butter came resting on a stone with 3 variations: herb, goat and olive. There was also lamb fat (“Like on the Shuarma” as my dad indicated) on the side. The goat butter was good and salty.

The appetizers came all four together, randomly assigned to each one of us. I got the lamb tartar. It was a replacement dish for the raw filet and it was served over the lighten table. If you want you can see the movie of the construction of this dish right at the table:
This is the Finished product. Eating with my hands was the instructions so I did just that. This dish was more of a gimmick in my opinion. The meat was of good quality but I would prefer eating smaller bits. The mint leaves were not incorporated with the meat being so large. It was salted with Kosher salt which made some of the bites too salty and crunchy.
eating with my hands
Nachman got the squid dish which was beautifully presented like a colorful painting. It was really interesting to taste. Some of the flowers and leaves were not so tasty as others (rose petals were left there) and we couldn’t find the smoked bone marrow that was promised. Nonetheless this was a success and could be considered a main course being this big.
 Irit got the carrot dish. This was the most positively surprising dish in oppose to what the title may suggest. There were some undefined lettuce leaves laying around there, but the goat cheese on top compensated for it. The carrot itself was glazed and soft but not soggy, good one! I really like it when a dish is composed of mainly one basic ingredient cooked the right way, making it a spacial dish without having to add any “high class” expensive ingredients.
Barak got the raw fish with yogurt and this curly root. There was something spicy but frozen going on there, gave it a twist and I liked the lightness of it. The sauce was too liquidy to be caught on the fish but tasted good soaked in bread.
We were not expecting the portions of the appetizers be so big so we were almost full going to get the main courses. We hadn’t had much time to rest and they came. This was the saddle of lamb with beer sauce. Sauce had deep and rich flavor but the meat itself was undercooked. This claim coming from me – a well known raw eater, is not an exaggeration. There was a lot of fat in the middle that was not cooked at all and fat needs a bit of a crunch to it.
the fat in the middle is completely raw

 The brain of lamb dish was my personal favorite of the evening. It was smoked with spices and had an amazing creamy texture. The capers sauce was a good match and some sweet pears went nicely together.

my favorite – brains of lamb
 The most expensive dish (162 nis) was this Locus fish filet with artichokes and green garlic. The artichokes were yammy but we had a disagreement about the fish. I thought it was overcooked and blend, my mom liked it the way it was.
 The most disappointing dish of this dinner was the “pea Masabacha”. All sorts of green grains were there and an egg yolk in the middle. We also noticed the use of green almonds. Yet this dish did not scream “eat me” and felt too healthy to enjoy. We picked the pine nuts from the middle and left this one only half eaten.
We were so full reaching this stage of the evening so we asked to take home what’s left of the lamb saddle (most of it). Unfortunately it was not received nicely.  “We have no way of doing that” is what both of our waiters said in those exact words. After insisting they wrapped it in a foil. 
For dessert we had little tummy space so we shared one of the three dishes suggested: chocolate mousse with cardamom ice-cream and a “Local rash” that totally bought our attention. It was brought on a petri dish inside a cement mold. I can say that it was interesting but a little too dry for a dessert. The ice-cream flavor was great but it’s portion of the dish wasn’t enough to moist all the other drier stuff. There was also some edible powder made out of at least 10 different things. I guess this was the local rash. Whatever that is. On top was a very redundant parsley (?) stem.
Local rash? funny

 The bill summed up at 940 nis before service and the coupons had turned it to a nice 500 nis worth of a meal. Very reasonable 160 nis p/p including wine and service (but without the discount would it be good value?)

Bottom line: It was slightly too pretentious and fancy for what was delivered. Few of the dishes were worthy like the brains, the carrot and the squid, but the rest did not blow our minds. Somebody said it before and I agree that given the choice between originality and taste – Shakuf will go for originality. I think that the type of place they were after should have both taste and innovation without compromise. The “Masbacha” dish should have been taken out of the menu, can’t think of someone who would really enjoy it. Also I’m glad we didn’t take the tasting menu because in our way out we saw they still give the same dishes that I saw in the reviews 2 months ago (shakshuka crackers, edible soil.. ), so where is the daily changing ingredients and dishes? I’m not sure.

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One Response to Restaurant review #1 – Shakuf

  1. Sharin says:

    Looks interesting, but not so appealing..

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