Although I missed most of the fun events surrounding Open Restaurants Jerusalem as I was abroad, I got back just in time for what turned out to be an incredibly unique and fun event, Mix and Match at HaSadna (The Culinary Workshop) hosted by mixmaster Doron Yakobovitz. As a food writer, I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting many chefs, barmen and restaurant owners and peering behind the curtain to see how the magic is created, but a cocktail workshop which matched the food to the drinks, was something I had not tried before.
I was also particularly excited to attend this event as Doron is considered by many in the industry to be Jerusalem’s top mixologist and among the best in the country. I have had the pleasure of meeting him several times and he is also a really great guy, as is his lovely wife Hagar, who as Event Manager for the Machneyuda restaurant group, was our host for the afternoon. The event was well attended, mostly with Jerusalemites but the group included a couple from Herzliya and two girlfriends from Shoham.
For those who are not familiar with HaSadna, it is the sister restaurant to Machneyuda with a kitchen that specializes in smoked, aged meats. There are also fish and vegetarian options on the menu for non-meat lovers. Like all restaurants in the Machneyuda group, there is a signature polenta dish and other similarities to its older sister, but the menu holds its own and the restaurant has a completely different ambience to the others in the group. Sitting at the large U-shaped bar with a view of the kitchen is always my preference, but there are plenty of stand-alone tables for larger groups or those wanting an intimate meal. The restaurant has an impressive cocktail menu that compliments the food but Doron and his team are always happy to create bespoke cocktails on request. For Gin & Tonic lovers, they also have the most impressive selection of gins from all over the world and the right tonics and other elements to accompany them.
Most tasting menus pair the wine and other drinks with the food but the menu for this event was designed so that the food complimented the drinks, and not the other way around. Throughout the afternoon, Doron and his fellow barmen Avihai and Ben explained the history of each cocktail, how they were making them by combining both local and specialist ingredients from all over the world and their adaptations on the original recipes, all while preparing 24 versions of each drink! Chef Elior Ben-Harush also explained the dishes that was chosen to match each drink and was incredibly flexible on adapting dishes to dietary needs.
I will let the photos tell most of the story but my highlights were the Basil Smash Hendricks “Tea”, the Asian Daiquiri paired with Beef Carpaccio and Asian Noodles and the Mexico Mule served in classic Fever Tree copper mugs with a Goose Breast Taco.
The cleverest food pairing was the seared 28 Day Aged Sirloin Steak, in a red wine sauce, served with a charred baked potato paired with the NY Sour – a take on a classic Whisky Sour. The NY Sour included a spray of Lagavulin 16 which has a smoky undertone which matched the charcoal taste in the potato. The drink also included a touch of Malbec which paired with the red wine sauce on the steak. All the elements in the drink, complimented all the elements in the food and vice-versa.
The event was such a success that nobody wanted to leave and I hope that both HaSadna and Open Restaurants repeat it again.