A little bit of (culinary) heaven in Jerusalem

Yup – the holy city of Jerusalem has spent another week in the news, usually for the wrong reasons. Should I write about the Mayor Barkat’s attempts to end illegal building by both Jew and Muslim, as others watch him walk the impossible political tightrope? The BBC’s Panorama reporter, Jane Corbin, has already made a series of malicious and unsubstantiated claims on the subject.

So let us move on to something more palatable. Last night, I spent a couple of tasty hours at Simone’s restaurant at 54 Hebron Way. Now, let me be very clear, this is the classic delight, hidden away from the usual tourist track, offering a wonderful fish menu.

The restaurant barely holds more than 14 people at any one time. It is located in south east Jerusalem, surrounded by plenty of buildings from the late Ottoman period. The owners are very welcoming, ensuring a personal service.

A special word for Claude – I think that is his name. To the British snobs, when you first meet him, he looks like a couple of greats from television series of old. And yes, he has some nice jokes of his own, yet he helped make the evening fun.

 None of our party left disappointed. I started with the unusual but excellent chestnut soup. This was followed by a creamy spinach pie, where the vegetable had not been drowned in cheese. My friend choose mullet, which was superb, and my wife had codfish in orange sauce. Again, fantastic.

We passed on the desserts, which was an act of immense self-restraint. Somehow, the Shiraz wine had not totally gone to our heads.

The guest book was full of names of diplomatics, local celbs and members of the world of entertainment. A wonderful way to end another frantic week in this very special city.

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