The Tel Aviv Sheraton is continuing in its commendable mission of introducing Israelis to a variety of exotic cuisines. This time the country in question was Mexico, and a dinner was held recently at the Olive Leaf restaurant. It consisted entirely of Mexican dishes at both the reception and the dinner itself.
The food was prepared by Boaz Dror, the executive chef of the Sheraton, together with guest chef Eduardo Perez Romero, who was brought over from Mexico. Romero spoke to the diners and said that everything he had prepared was food he used to eat at his grandmother’s.
“I don’t make fancy food, I make what people eat at home,” he stated.
At the cocktail reception, where the drink of choice was – what else? – tequila, waiters went around with tidbits to get the taste buds going. There was a Mexican ceviche, called aguachile, which consisted of cubed raw fish soaked in lime juice and spiked with chili; mushroom empanadas, a tasty filling in crispy envelopes of shortcrust; and salbutes, a fried tortilla base topped with chicken, red onion and spices.
The Mexican ambassador and his staff were on hand to mingle with the guests, who were invited to sit down in the restaurant, where each table was decorated with a Mexican doll.
The meal began with conde soup, a dark brown spicy creation made from beans. It was just the thing to have on a cold Tel Aviv evening, and I liked the fact that the texture was just right – a filling consistency but not thick with flour. The fried tortilla chips as garnish added a crispy note which was welcome.
The main course was another classic Mexican dish – green mole chicken. The tender piece of chicken was smothered in a rich green sauce in which one could detect plenty of garlic and cilantro (coriander). Perfect basmati rice was the accompaniment.
For dessert, coconut ice cream was served with candied papaya, just the thing to round off an exotic meal with a difference.
The general manager of the Sheraton, Franco Vella, who is originally from Malta, assured the assembled guests that although the Mexican festival itself has ended, the dishes will be included on the Olive Leaf menu in the future.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Olive Leaf, Kosher Sheraton Tel Aviv 115 Hayarkon St., Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 521-1111