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Jerusalem’s Pompidou: Good food and great atmosphere

SC 20/05/2021


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Even though Pompidou is not far from my house, and lots of my friends have raved about it, I had never eaten there. So when I was offered a chance to try it, and my soldier son was available to be my date (I told my husband that I definitely traded up), I was happy to do so.

We arrived on a Saturday night about an hour after Shabbat ended, and it was not very crowded. By the time we left, there was a line to get in. Co-owner Ran Weizmann, 26, grinned when I told him I was trying Pompidou for the first time.
“I am so happy to welcome you here,” he said. “I hope you really enjoy your meal.”
Ran, who owns the restaurant along with two partners, has been working there for seven years, and became a partner about six months ago. He clearly loves the place, and the service was excellent the whole night.
The atmosphere is beautiful. There are three seating areas: an outside area right on Emek Refaim, a second outside area for smoking, and a modern inside area. Both outside areas have small lanterns on the table that give a romantic aura to the restaurant. We sat outside in the non-smoking area. In addition to the lanterns, the trees on the sidewalk were decorated with fairy lights. It was all very pretty.
There is no printed menu. Rather, you point your phone at a QR code and the menu shows up on your phone in either Hebrew or English. The extensive menu has photos that can help you make your decision.
My son and I asked to start with a cocktail, and Ran asked if we preferred sweet or slightly savory. I chose sweet and received a lovely cocktail based on mango and passiflora, and my son chose savory getting a basil and cucumber concoction. Both were really good.

Ran asked if he could choose our meal for us. I’m a pretty adventurous eater and it’s fun to not know what is going to show up at the table from the extensive menu. I made one mistake, however. There was an appetizer that looked really interesting and I should have asked to try it: a mushroom polenta (NIS 54) with spinach, truffle oil, garlic confit and cheddar cheese. Definitely at the top of my list for next time.
We received three appetizers and one main dish to share. I’ll start with the main dish, pappardelle roasted peppers (NIS 74) with spinach and garlic confit and cream, and topped with crispy sweet potatoes. 
While the sauce was good, the combination of flavors didn’t quite work, and I’m pretty sure the pasta was not homemade. The roasted peppers were large and a little unwieldy to eat. It wasn’t a bad dish, just nothing special.
Things looked up as we ate the other dishes. There was a freshly made Moroccan frena bread (NIS 36) with garlic and rosemary, served with three dips of olive tapenade, cream cheese and grated tomatoes. There was a great salad called Bindella (NIS 58) with endive and baby greens, dates, sliced apple, roasted almonds and blue cheese in a vinaigrette dressing. And the standout dish of the night for me was a smoked salmon carpaccio (which does not appear on the menu) of paper-thin slices of smoked salmon, with capers and olives.
For dessert we shared a vanilla and coffee mille feuille (NIS 54) with layers of patisserie cream, crispy dough, vanilla ice cream, coffee cream sauce, halva leaves and candied pecans. It was worth every calorie, and all the extra exercise I had to do on Sunday to work it off!
There are also several fish dishes, pizzas (including several white pizzas), soups and salads. The desserts alone are worth coming here for. Next time I want to try the Galaxy Oreo (NIS 54), which is hot chocolate sauce poured over a chocolate dome filled with creamed Oreo. It is served with ice cream and whipped cream, and when you pour the sauce over the dome, it collapses inward like a chocolate bomb. Perfect for Instagram as the menu says.
The clientele was mixed, which is something I always like to see. There was a haredi family, a few tables of wannabe Tel Aviv hipsters, and quite a few couples on dates.
Ran says that in the mornings the clientele is mostly Anglos who come for breakfast, while in the evenings it is a younger crowd who come for the cocktails as much as the food. On Thursday and Saturday nights, he said, the music is loud, and Pompidou is almost like a club. It was more sedate the week we came because of the tragedy in Meron.
Overall, a fun place with good food and a great atmosphere.
Pompidou Bistro and Bar
Emek Refaim 27
Phone: 02-625-1111
Sunday-Thursday: 8:30 until last customer
Friday: 8 a.m. until an hour before Shabbat
Saturday night: hour after Shabbat until the last customer
Kashrut: Rabbanut Yerushalayim with no chalav nochri
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

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SC

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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