Hummus is certainly not new. But according to chef and New Jaffa owner Moshe Ittah, we’re doing it wrong: hummus is best served with just a bowl and spoon.
It’s indulgent, but as far as Ittah is concerned you haven’t truly experienced the Middle-Eastern staple until you’ve tasted it in its most authentic state, as you you’d find it in Tel Aviv’s Old Jaffa neighbourhood – served as a dish, not a dip.
But it was inevitable he’d take his love and passion for the food he grew up eating and channel it into his own eatery.
The ancient city of Jaffa is right on the Israeli coast, famed for its Mediterranean cuisine and great seafood. This romantic, seaside feel is not lost in Ittah’s ode to the Arabic city. Black sailing ropes line the roof, while everything from the glasses to plates (both of which he had his mum send over) is true to his home country.
Ittah also wants customers to sit together, so he’s carted in two large communal tables that dominate the tiny room.
The menu offers some traditional meat-based dishes – try the homemade lamb and beef kebab served with a chopped tomato salad and green tahini dressing – but much of the menu is plant-based. The chickpea-falafel pita comes stuffed with tahini, pickled green chilli and parsley; roasted cauliflower arrives with spiced mayo and a soft-boiled egg; and there are a couple of lighter salads on the menu, too.
On the sweeter side, there’s baklava with passionfruit semifreddo, or grab a glass of rosewater with pomegranate, berries, lemon and mint.