While watching the 100th Anniversary installment of “No Reservations” Anthony Bourdain and friend sat at a Parisian Bistro and consumed what looked to me like enough cheese to feed my family for two weeks. I looked in amazement and thought, like a true cheese lover, “well if I didn’t have anything to eat all day and arrived hungry enough I might be able to share that with someone, if there was some place one could consume such a variety other than home.”
Now the thought has found a local home other than mine. The best fromagerie in Israel has opened a wine and cheese bar that also includes dairy restaurant fare, including a salmon filet. When we arrived I saw the remains at a table of some hearty group (one can only imagine) who couldn’t finish the two cheese samplers they had ordered. Scary.
We decided rather to start with the baked Camembert appetizer with candied pear, figs, walnuts in marsala wine sauce. It was served with the beautiful twisted garlic bread shown in photo. The evenings top choice.
I have adapted my own recipe of this sort, Daniel Boulud’s , a bit more savory, Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom fricassee, minus the sage (don’t like) and walnut oil (can’t buy here- used olive). I offered it at a party we hosted and two of my guests, one a chef, sat and consumed all of what the rest of us had left behind, good recipe. I was honored.
Back to Basher’s. The new wine bar is located near the mahaneh Yehuda shuk, on 21 Agrippas. The Jerusalem ancient cavelike atmosphere is very appealing and not unlike some of the Enotecas we visited in Italy. Five star feel from the wood tables, music, lighting, intimate. According to another reviewer the “When they found the building, it was in complete ruins. The basement was filled with mud and water and had not been used for 230 years, and the original Jerusalem stone had all been covered over.”
Our table shared the quiche of the day, the pineapple carpaccio and the lasagna. One word of caution, the pineapple dish is more of a desert. The main courses were offered with a healthy salad sprinkled with a feta or bulgarian cheese, the beer we opted for was on tap, a locally made IPA resembling lager called Negev.
The fare was excellent and soon the place filled with a relatively young 20-30 something crowd until packed on a Wednesday night. Prices are reasonable by Israeli standards.