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Burger Bar HaMalka: ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

SC 20/05/2021

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 ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

Tel-Aviv is almost back to its old lively self after the year’s lockdown. Restaurants and nightclubs are reopening, the lights are back on and the promenade is alive with strolling couples, joggers and older people out for a constitutional.
Orna and Nir Givon at Burger Bar HaMalka are busy welcoming diners to what was, until a year ago, Café Jaffa, a popular dairy restaurant established 13 years before.
“When the corona hit, we started doing takeaways,” explains Orna, “and we were doing a lot of breakfasts which logistically are hard to do as deliveries.”
They decided to switch to meat, got Zohar supervision and they have now been in business for a year.
It’s a long drive to Jaffa from our Netanya home, and while Alex hunted for parking, Orna brought me a glass jug of iced water with mint and lemon in profusion. What a treat! He took forever, not realizing there is a parking lot just around the corner from the restaurant. It makes sense to ask about parking when you go out to eat.
And so to the food. I decided to start with the ceviche, the salad of raw fish and vegetables which has become a popular and still sophisticated hors d’oeuvres.

A very large mound of fresh cubed salmon, diced cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado and radish appeared (NIS 39). The diverse ingredients blended into a homogeneous dish which I really enjoyed. I tried not to finish it as there was so much but just couldn’t resist, it was so good.
My companion, who finally arrived flushed with success having found a parking spot, started with the chicken wings – there are several kinds on the menu – plumping for the spicy and sour variety. They were far less sweet than the usual sticky kind, with a hot kick from the chili which flavored them. (NIS 44). They were served very hot, always a commendable factor, were perfectly cooked and made a very satisfying starter.
Malka offers many kinds of burger as one might expect. My companion chose the classic, a meaty concoction, cooked medium-rare as requested. Crispy outside and soft within, it was pronounced very good. (NIS 52)
I chose the vegan lentil burgers on a bed of rice with coconut cream and spinach. The burgers looked and tasted exactly like meat and were overpoweringly flavored with cumin, a spice I happen to like but they might have been too pungent for Anglo palates. (NIS 69). The accompanying rice rather reminded me of that old childhood favorite – rice pudding, even with the addition of spinach.
The wines are all from the Yogev Binyamina Winery and we each drank a glass of the Cabernet Merlot blend, a rich red and potent wine. (NIS 25).
After such a meal, hot mint water and Orna’s home-made chocolate crispy petits fours made a perfect ending. (NIS 25).
We talked a little about Arab/Jewish relations in Jaffa.
“We all get along fine,” said Orna.”Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”
As to the title of this review – well, Malka means queen and it was certainly a gambit to switch from milk to meat – hence, “The Queen’s Gambit.”
Burger Bar HaMalka,
11 Olei Tsion, Tel-Aviv/Jaffa. Phone: 03-518-1988
Sun-Thur: 11a.m.-11 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m.-1 hour before Shabbat.
Kashrut: Zohar.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.


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Co-Host for Coffee Mouth Scarecrow Show. Retired NAVY Chief/Flag Writer Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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