ISRAEL: Kadaif and a flight of microbrews

The microbrew scene is pretty strong in Israel – there’s brewpubs everywhere, usually with good restaurants. So after a hot day exploring Haifa, I took the Carmelit down to Libira Brewpub, in a cute port-side neighbourhood full of restaurants and bars.

I tried a tasting flight of all their beers – a Weiss, and Double Pils, a Bitter IPA, a Smoked Stout, and a Belgian Ale. I’d say the beers were very drinkable, but a bit lighter than I’ve normally had for each style. For example, the Weiss had good but not overwhelming banana esters, the IPA was pleasantly hoppy, and the Belgian really nailed the wild yeast notes, but I felt I could probably down a pint of the Belgian where I would normally sip one.

There was one that knocked my socks off, however: the Smoked Stout. Here, the lightness kept it from being too cloying (perfect for a hot day), and the smoky flavour was absolutely stunning – a little bit campfire, a little bit BBQ, with a slight caramel edge to round it out. Out of this world good.

Of course, I went for something completely new to me for dinner. The menu listed “Kadaif” as an entree, describing it as a “noodle-like pastry filled with creamy leek and goat cheese. Served with fresh tomato salsa, soft boiled egg, and tomato chutney”.

Kadaif isn’t really a dish itself, it’s an ingredient – fine shredded phyllo, like angel hair pasta, that’s mainly used in desserts in the Middle East. There’s also savoury uses of kadaif, especially with goat cheese or lamb. This is a upmarket restaurant take, and the warm goat cheese and soft egg made it a very rich and creamy, countered with the crunch of the kadaif and the acidity of the tomatoes.

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