184 Ben Yehuda; 97 King George
Sun-Thurs 7-24; Fri 7-16; Sat 10-16
Imagine you hear this story: two young brothers set out on the road making their way through Europe – driving through Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, and Spain. Along the way they discover meats, cheeses, pastries, and other delectable treats that they savor, enjoy, and cherish. One day as they are driving through a small village located near Lyon, France they decide to stop and stay with a family in a small cottage.While at this cottage, they taste some of the best croissants they have ever had in their lives. The brothers then discover that their hosts own a croissantery and better yet, the secret croissant recipe and baking techniques come from Grandma Leon. One of the young brothers, who had previously worked as a chef, requests an apprenticeship at their small croissantery and after several months comes to learn the secrets to making a perfect croissant.
He learns that the mountainous climate in the Rhone-Alps region of France is perfect for making the laborious dough. He learns that the temperature can never be above 30 °C, so that the butter will not liquefy and make the dough runny. He learns that it takes three days to make the dough because you have to add each ingredient one by one and let the dough rest. He discovers quickly that one must be up before the roosters begin to cackle to bake the croissants, which take six hours to rise. Most importantly, he learns that the dedication for making the perfect croissants goes way beyond a love for food and is based on a deep rooted respect for gastronomy cultivated for hundreds of years in Lyon.
After his three month apprenticeship comes to an end, both brothers return to a land with arid weather conditions not suitable for making croissants . Yet they yearn and obsess over finding a way to do so. The older brother tries and tries to create artificial conditions to make croissants identical to those in Lyon. He comes to learn that he must work in a fridge that is always at 15°C and he must set up humidifiers to put moisture in the air. It’s the only way to make croissants that are crispy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside, croissants that live up to the standards set in Lyon. He makes thousands of croissants over the course of the year and not knowing what to do with the croissants, he uses them like he would bread. He and his brother start making sandwiches for themselves, their friends and family members. After months of creating a variety of sandwiches and looking for ways to add some creativity, they stumble upon a sandwich that is deliciously out of this world. They discover that the combination of a homemade croissant, a poached egg, rich cheese, and some slices of imported salami, makes a sandwich so tasty it nearly takes your breath away. As the light bulb suddenly turns on, they realize that they have the perfect base to open their own sandwich bar and a lifelong dream comes to fruition.
It sounds like a story taken out of book or a fantasy one only daydreams of, but thanks to the hard work of real life brothers Adi and Roey Frishman, we are invited to join them in this fantasy everyday. Since opening their “sandwich bar” in 2007, with the creation of a zen like atmosphere composed of leafy green walls, high ceilings, a corky wooden bar, and dim lighted lamps that resemble street lamps in Paris, they take you out of the streets of Tel Aviv and into a page taken out of a storybook. An adventure where nothing comes easy, yet all obstacles are mitigated thanks to devotion of foodies and patrons who are moved by their passion. Combine this dedication to unique exotic meats, fine cheeses, champagne, boutique wine, and real Italian espresso and in one word what you get is: orgasmic.
The menu is simple, it starts with the basic soisson at 25 shekles (croissant and sausage) and continues to the “Unique” sandwich at 39 shekels. The “Unique” comes with the finest cheese of the week’s selection which can range from British Stilton to Italian Pecorino, the featured meat of the week and finally a dash of truffles. During our visit the featured meat was horse sausage, formally known as kazy. This may sound crazy but the combination of the buttery croissant, tangy cheese, earthy and rustic truffles followed by the smoky bite of kazy was a fantastic adventure for the mouth. We accompanied our sandwiches with a glass of Moet Chandor rose, to wash the richness down and highlight the taste with the fruity undertones of the champagne. The wine is an equally splendid pairing. La Gaterie offers Yesidot Cabernet Sauvignon: a boutique wine made by Patrik, a French Native who has a small winery in the caves in the hills surrounding Jerusalem. He only makes 2,000 bottles a year and La Gaterie is one of the only places you can find it.
For an exotic Tel Aviv experience, join Adi and Roey in their little world of La Gaterie, a fantastical land where delicacies come smuggled in suitcases from far off places. Where the wine is from a little old man in a cave. Where flowers, plants, and ceramic birds are placed by mom every so slightly throughout the place like soft notes on a grand piano and a place that you immedietly feel the passion behid the work and where you can share with so many your own love for food.
Photos: Kelly Levy