Update September 2019 – Nir Zook is no longer the chef of the restaurant.
At first glance, Mapu is just like any other restaurant in a hotel lobby but once you scratch the surface, you revel so much more. Mapu is Chef Nir Zook’s only kosher restaurant, which opened two years ago when the Prima City Hotel was refurbished. The menu at Mapu offers a mixture of tempting dishes with middles eastern touches. I like the fact that it differs from typical kosher chef restaurants, with dishes like Ramallah Kebab and Chicken Makluba with Kadaif.
We started the meal with piping hot, freshly made Focaccia (NIS 18) with olives and dips. I don’t recall ever having freshly made bread in a restaurant before, it was a nice touch. From the cocktails, I chose the Marry Gin (NIS 50) which was a light and refreshing gin cocktail, and my friend went for Them Apples (NIS 55) with peach vodka, fresh apples and ginger ale.
For starters, we really enjoyed the AmberJack Cigar with Pickled Lemon (NIS 48) and Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Pistachio Cream (NIS 54). We also tried the Jerusalem Artichoke Confit with Tomatoes and Olives (NIS 54), which was a tasty and light appetizer.
For the main course, there were so many tempting dishes to choose from but in the end, we chose to share the Lightly Smoked Goose Breast with Mulberries and Sweet Potato Mash (NIS 118) and the Beef Fillet with Green Vegetables and Demi-Glace (NIS 160). Both dishes were well cooked and nicely presented. The beef was tender and juicy and the goose breast was a perfect balance of smoky and sweet. The manager also treated us to the Organic Chicken Makluba topped with Crispy Kadaif (NIS 84) which was also very tender and tasty.
For me, the highlight of the meal was the desserts and it was hard to decide which to order. The waiter very predictably told us to order the Chocolate Nemesis, which took over from the Chocolate Fondant trend from last decade! As much as I love gooey hot chocolate, I ignored his advice and ordered the Lemon-grass Crème Brulée with Poached Pear (NIS 48) and Sfinj with Fresh Pineapple (NIS 42). They were both divine in different ways. The sfinj was freshly prepared with a perfect balance of dough inside and crispy outside, accompanied by a pot of fresh pineapple purée for dipping. The crème brulée had a beautifully subtle taste of lemongrass, with a creamy base and crunchy top.
The service was attentive and friendly which created a very pleasant dining experience and I looked forward to eating there again.