David Dides is the Executive Chef of the Arabesque Restaurant in American Colony, a beautiful hotel in Jerusalem. I visited the restaurant recently and enjoyed seafood in the middle of winter. David is very fond of the sea, having Greek roots.
The first dish was a sea trout tartar, on a bed of cracked wheat, served with an ostrich’s egg, capers, fresh greens and fried artichoke, “alla Judea”. The trout was so sweet, it needed the capers to counter the flavor. This was the case until I tasted the artichoke. It was a powerhouse of salty and acid flavors and when combined with the trout it lifted the dish to heights I could not have imagined. The cracked wheat offered the best neutral background to the symphony of flavors of the dish.
The second dish was something tasty and extremely light. Red mullet fillets fried “tempura style” and served on a bed of a light risotto with saffron and gentle spices. Before I describe the dish, I would like to note that “red mullet” is known as “Sultan ibrahim” in the middle east, apparently because it was the Sultan’s favorite dish. I may not be a Sultan (in my current incarnation) but I also like red mullets, and David’s dish is now one of my absolute favorites. First of all, the tempura was executed in a perfect way, making the fillets soft, juicy, delicious and light, very light. The risotto complemented the fillets in a subtle way, without overpowering the taste of the fish. Another interesting aspect of the dish was the slices of fresh orange, which provided enough acidity to counter the “oily” touch of the tempura.
Thank you David, I will return.