Located on the upper floor of the Mamilla Mall, in downtown Jerusalem, Moshek Cohen, 35 years old, like many Israelis, dreamed of owning his own restaurant because it seemed fancy and sexy, even though he realized from the inside, this is a fantasy. Still, he loves people and knows how to host them.
This led him and an old friend, Benji Huja, to open an Italian, non-kosher restaurant in an old Arab house with high ceilings and arches, in 2004, off Hillel Street, called Spaghettim. Two years later, Spaghettim moved to Bet Agron, Hillel 35, where it is today, as Italian non-kosher.
In 2009, Cohen and Huja opened a kosher branch of Spaghettim, on the third floor of Mamilla Mall and next to it, they opened Kedma.
An inside room with black and white tile floors, arched windows, black tables and chairs, seating 60-70, may catch your eye. It was the living room of the Clark house, 19th century Christian Evangelist.
These two rooms together seat at least 100.
Outside, 200 can sit at tables with bamboo and wicker chairs, on the wood deck, with the bar in the center, umbrellas and a tent overhead with ceiling fans. Here you can marvel and appreciate the spectacular view of the Old City Walls, Mount Zion, and parts of the new city, stretching to the King David Hotel.
Chef Assi Itach, 39 years old, whose parents came from Morocco, has been a chef for 12 years. A graduate of the culinary program at Hadassah College, he worked for 8 years at Chakra, headed the kitchen at the YMCA for a year, was first chef at a café on Herzog Street, came to Spaghettim, and then, four months ago, he started at Kedma.
“I have a big passion for food,” he says. “It’s my destiny to give others pleasure from my knowledge.”
And he couldn’t stop sending out special dishes for us to try.
Wonderful bread from the Teller bakery came served with eggplant, sundried tomatoes and pesto dips (22 NIS).
From the selection of 11 appetizers, the chef first sent us Beef Fillet Carpaccio (56 NIS)–thinly sliced raw beef fillet with steamed mushrooms, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and arugula–light tasting and delicious.
Then we tried the salmon carpaccio (52 NIS), thinly sliced raw salmon with sesame and olive oils, pine nuts, chopped scallions, cilantro and lemon and garnished with green grapes. For salmon lovers, like us, it was a delicacy.
The second was a menu special–fish falafel (58 NIS) with sea bream and cod, sitting on an oil, lemon, garlic and harissa sauce.The sauce was a tiny bit spicy, but we thought this way of making falafel was very unique.
My very favorite appetizer was the chicken liver pate (39 NIS) with onion and spices, served with crostini and berry confiture. I ate the confiture alone on the crostini. The pate was heavenly for someone who adores liver pate.
From the selection of 4 salads, the green summer salad (48 NIS) had Romaine and head lettuces, arugula, mixed seeds, muscat grapes and sprouts with a sesame honey vinaigrette–absolutely wonderful.
The author and the photographer were the guests of the restaurant. Images Barry Kaplan