It being Dorit's birthday, Cole, Dorit and I piled into the Mazda and drove up to Jerusalem, with the not overly ambitious plan of enjoying a nice meal.
We chose the Te'enim (Figs) Restaurant, which is in the lovely location of the Confederation House. Windows look out on to the span of Suleiman's walls just south of Jaffa Gate.
We knew the restaurant from its earlier incarnation on Emek Refayim Street. A couple of years ago perhaps, it moved fo its current location. It's considered one of the city's quality vegetarian restaurants, serving an eclectic array of foods from around the world. Looking at the menu, it's hard to decide whether to order, say, an Indonesian salad, miso soup or a Provencal vegie hotpot.
But in our case the tempting menu didn't deliver anything close to its promise. Cole's quinoa and steamed vegetables were bland, stodgy and dry. He added a little of the butter that came with the bread. Dorit's dish consisted mainly of root vegetables roasted on a spit, accompanied by salad. All was rather tasteless and unappetizing. I ordered a curry leek pie. The portion was generous but the pie filling was mushy, soggy and overly sweet. Cole and I were able to eat most of our portions but Dorit had to give up.
The service wasn't sparkling. The two young waitresses had their hands full with the few guests. Eventually Dorit was left with the job of complaining. She expressed all of our disappointment but especially her own. And they gave her a reduction on one of the dishes. She asked to deliver our complaints to the management and to inform them we would not be coming back. (As if, even if the food had been awesome, we'd be there more than once a year.)
As compensation, we went to the Cinematheque restaurant for coffee and dessert. Its balcony enjoys a similarly gorgeous illuminated city-wall view.
The offerings were up to their usual standard. We shared a chocolate pudding and balls of coconut and berry sorbet. Ella bicycled over from nearby Abu Tor, where she'd already eaten dinner with friends, and chatted about the final days of her semester.
So in the end the evening turned out all right. We ambled out again into Jerusalem's late night chill and drove back down through the misty hills - the weekday traffic much quieter at midnight.