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Whiskey Bar and Museum
Buzzy Gordon
Tel Aviv’s whiskey cellar
Review: The largest whiskey museum in the Middle East serves not only the world’s most exclusive spirits, but also gourmet meals to match.

When the Whiskey Bar and Museum opened in Sarona last summer, the largest museum dedicated to whiskey in the region—and fifth largest in the world—it could not help but make a big splash in Tel Aviv’s culinary scene. With its impressive showcase comprising hundreds of illuminated whiskey bottles—including the pride of the collection, valued at NIS 40,000—it transformed the former Templer wine cellar it shared with the upscale wine bar Jajo.

 

 

Now, Jajo is gone; and the successful Whiskey Bar is expanding into the vacated space next door.

 

Perusing the bilingual food menu is best done while sipping one of the bar’s unique cocktails—both new creations and classics, made with whiskey standing in for gin or vodka. Unfortunately—and surprisingly—both the whiskey tasting menu (arguably, the bar’s raison d’être) and cocktail list are is still in Hebrew only (In fact, the names of the specialty cocktails are in English only, and the ingredients of each cocktail in Hebrew only).

 

One of the creative specialty cocktails is the Cardamom Sour—whiskey, lemon, pear juice and cardamom, served neat in a tumbler and garnished with a slice of fresh pear. With its intriguing hint of exotic spice, this unusual drink packs a punch.

 

 

The Whiskey Colada, meanwhile—whiskey, lemon, pineapple and coconut, served on the rocks in a goblet, with a ring of candied pineapple as the garnish—is a sweet and refreshing variation on the familiar piña colada.

 

From the Starters section of the food menu, we ordered the beef bruschetta—shredded beef on toasted bruschetta with cashew cream, smoked pepper salsa and drunken plum, with smears of chive beet cream on the serving board. The room temperature beef was accented nicely by the alternating sweet and savory tastes of the salsa and fruit.

 

 

Our second appetizer was the mushroom mix—portobello and oyster mushrooms stir-fried in olive oil, parsley, garlic, basil and chili, and served tableside in a sizzling skillet. The meaty mushrooms were enhanced perfectly by the zesty sauce, every last drop of which we mopped up with the accompanying baguette.

 

 

Our main course was the lamb chops grilled on charcoal, with similarly prepared zucchini and green herb aioli. The meat was positively succulent, while the al dente vegetable needed the aioli condiment more than the meat did.

 

 

For our second main course we chose a pasta dish: artichoke and asparagus gnocchi in an artichoke cream. The asparagus turned out to chopped into small flecks, more like an herb, with mushrooms making a surprise appearance as the primary ingredient alongside the plump pillows of potato pasta that were as good as you would find in any Italian restaurant.

 

The dessert menu is rather extensive, with most options boasting multiple ingredients. The tropical dessert, for example, is coconut panna cotta with mango chunks, pineapple salad, and passion fruit sorbet garnished with mint. The panna cotta was actually malabi, accented with fresh fruit, adding to up a fresh and light, if unremarkable, dessert.

 

The raspberry mousse, on the other hand—raspberry mousse with chocolate glaze on a cocoa biscuit, with a raspberry coulis, cocoa streusel, raspberry marmalade and seasonal fruit sorbet—was indeed extraordinary: the classic combination of raspberry and chocolate taken to new heights. In fact, it is one of the best desserts I have had in recent memory.

 

 

Finally, while in many fine restaurants a digestif is commonly paired with dessert, at the Whiskey Bar, sampling one of the Museum’s unique whiskey tastings is recommended. Starting at a mere NIS 61, a worldwide tasting comprises flights of four small snifters, each representing a different country; the expert staff will provide water droppers and an explanation of the recommended tasting process. Each tasting totals up to 100 ml (4 x 25 ml) of liquid amber—which may not seem like much, but is actually enough for two people to share.

 

The Whiskey Bar and Museum is not only Israel’s in-place for sampling world-class liquor, it also serves food commensurate with the quality of its drink.

 

Whiskey Bar and Museum

Kosher under auspices of Hashgacha Pratit

27 Rav Aluf David Elazar St., Tel Aviv

Tel: (03) 955-1105

 

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