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Step into vintage cottage-core with Mazkeret Batya’s dairy restaurant

SC 29/07/2021 17

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If you don’t know about Rubida, you don’t know what you’re missing.
It’s not a place you would just stumble upon, since it’s situated in the rustic town of Mazkeret Batya, an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv (and an hour and 20 minutes from Netanya).
It’s a gourmet dairy restaurant established in a historic century-old building by chef Amos Hayon and Oren Ankava, business (and life) partners who, purely by chance, visited the small town named in honor of Batya Rothschild (Betty, mother of Edmond) and were inspired to open their business there.
Set in a beautiful garden, the old stone structure has an open kitchen and several pieces of vintage kitchen furniture dotted about.

We chose to sit in the flower garden one balmy summer evening recently and began our culinary adventure with two choices from the extensive cocktail menu – gin and tonic for me, and whiskey and ginger for my companion (NIS 38). A few sips of these aesthetic and refreshing drinks produced a pleasantly mellow mood – and a growing hunger which was waiting to be assuaged.
We were pleased to discover that the menu changes daily, depending on what is fresh in the market on any particular day and what fish has just been caught and delivered by their personal fisherman. We left the choice of menu to Amos, as we eat virtually everything.
Several starters appeared at our small table. These included a dish of roasted beetroot cubes interspersed with a mildly salty feta-like crumbly cheese. It was very fresh and tickled the taste buds.
Another starter was one beloved of my dining partner, tzatziki – a mix of yogurt, cucumber and herbs with plenty of garlic and olive oil. It’s not one of my favorites by any means, but I tasted it and found this one particularly refreshing. The sesame bagel that came with the dish was wonderful.
 Dining at Rubida is quite an eye-catching experience. (photographer: Courtesy) Dining at Rubida is quite an eye-catching experience. (photographer: Courtesy)
Next to appear were some rice-stuffed vine leaves, served with tomato paste, yogurt and za’atar (hyssop). We were told that the vine leaves had been picked that morning. Talk about fresh! (NIS 38).
For main courses, my companion decided on a fish dish and picked chreime – the Sephardi answer to gefilte fish served on Shabbat eve – while I chose ravioli.
The chreime was made from musar yam which I think and hope is drumfish. It was a white firm whole fish served with tomato ragout, pickled lemon and Kalamata olives. A homemade Shabbat challah (loaf) with tehina completed this dish (NIS 92). It was pronounced superb, and, apart from a fish skeleton, the plate was as clean as the day it was manufactured.
The ravioli were a strange triangular shape, attesting to their homemade-ness. They were filled with a mangold leaf and ricotta mix and were very good eaten with the accompanying tomato cream and okra (bamia or lady’s fingers) on the side (NIS 62).
Having come so far, we felt we should also indulge in a dessert, and my companion chose the rich chocolate cake, while I picked the lemon meringue. The cake was the melt-in-the-mouth variety and vanished with indecent haste. The lemon dessert was too much even for me, a lemon aficionado, to finish, although the combination of sweet/tart lemon curd, crumbs of cookies below and meringue on top was as good as expected. Fresh figs completed the dish.
“Our aim is to combine good cuisine with soul,” says Amos.
Amos and Oren have just started a new venture also situated in the lovely garden of Rubida. It’s a meat restaurant called Gefen, which has been open two months and has quickly caught on with the locals. Watch this space!
6 Hameyasdim
Mazkeret Batya
Tel. (08) 623-9864
Open: Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
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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