The scene: Ben Yehudah street Jerusalem, Israel- a new café has popped up on the ‘midrechov’…
As an Interior Designer and and Olah from Australia (quite a stylish country- if I don’t say so myself!) I have a somewhat critical eye when it comes design and style in Jerusalem. Not to say that Jerusalem isn’t stylish- its is- it just has a different style, a more rustic mid 18th century Arabic style lets say…
But Jerusalem is starting to come of age in the style department whether it be in boutique hotels or cafes on the street- Jerusalem is starting to draw inspiration from its European neighbours when it comes to styling (and hopefully service too- but perhaps we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves on this one just yet…).
As my Husband and I were walking along Ben Yehudah Wednesday afternoon on ‘chol hamoed’ Pesach, we came across a new and seemingly stylish (and from the looks of it-delicious) café called De Masa- which loosely translates to- well Im not sure and seeing as Google translate couldn’t figure it out for me lets just say that its probably something like ‘The Dough’.
The café appears to be some kind of mix between a French patisserie- with its beautiful marble countertops, light stained timber and lovely glass case of scrumptious looking cakes and pastries crossed between and Italian Bistro and a Spanish style tapas bar- not a bad mix of elements if you ask me!
The owner (who claims he designed the place himself- and whose wife strangely reminded me of Heidi Fleiss- the famous American madame from the 90’s) has really done a lovely job of creating the right ‘vibe’- when it comes to choices of materials and fittings. I particularly liked the 4 meter wall of shelving behind the servery that was stacked with all kinds of European delicacies and the punchy pendant lighting in what looked like a brass finish which contrasted wonderfully against the Carrera marble tops..
The menu also read a treat- with all kinds of indulgent breakfast combos -different than what you’d find a Tal bagels (alavah shalom..) or anywhere else on emek refaim- some very interesting Pesach pasta options, sandwiches and robust salads.
The only negative word I have to say about the whole place is that the waiters and hostesses were terrible- too terrible for words in fact- which im hoping that I’ll have to excuse as teething problems, seeing as they’ve only been open for a month. We actually ended up walking out because after 20 minutes of no one taking our order and the host (who previously moved us to a smaller table so a larger family of four could sit down) told us that their order was taken before our because WE moved-we were about ready to eat our own hands off and eventually had enough.
And where did we end up? Tmol shilshom- a GOOD OLD Jerusalem establishment…one of those lovely Mid 18th Century Arabic types…
All in all Its lovely and refreshing to see new and exciting design and ideas in Jerusalem but at the end of the day, while they are figuring out EXACTLY how its done the tried and tested establishments that typify Jerusalem’s style are just fine by me.