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13 December 2007

Avazi

Where does all the offal go? I ask because I've got into my chicken hearts. I had my second helping yesterday and they're pretty darn good, but I've never seen them on sale in the UK.

They have a more subtle taste than liver and are just the chewy side of being tough. Yesterday's meal was at Avazi. I had been expecting a slightly grubby, hole in the wall. In fact, it is a rather slick mini-chain, with a few branches in Tel Aviv.

We ate at the original in Hatkiva, a slightly run-down neighbourhood, with a larger than usual immigrant population. Which is saying something for a country made up almost entirely of immigrants. The current wave of immigration into Israel is from Africa and former Soviet Union and quite a few from China as well.

Overall the food was good. The numerous salads they brought at the start, as is the norm in these sort of grill restaurants, were an odd combination of traditional Ashkenazi dishes like egg and onion and traditional Middle Eastern dishes like falafel. Once I overcame that shocking dissonance, I was able to delight in the pitta. Fresh out of the taboon, boiling hot, crispy and pitted with sesame seeds it was one of the highlights of the meal. Dipped in their house special of tehina with grilled aubergine, washed down with a cold beer, it reached the zenith of what any pitta-parent could want for its pitta-offspring.

Salads and bread are very nice, but meat was the main order of the day, specifically offal. As I've mentioned the hearts were good, but the star attraction was the foie gras, which was excellent. You can see it nestling in-between the spring chicken skewer (foreground) and the aforementioned chicken hearts.

I can't vouch for the grade of foie gras they use, but it seemed pretty decent quality. I may be a traditionalist at heart, but I reckon it could have done with some sort of marmalade type sauce to cut through the fat. Then again, simply grilled and unadorned, I was able to delight in the meaty goodness.

The staff were especially friendly. As soon as I got out my camera to photograph the plate, they whipped it away and sprinkled some salad on to make it look a bit jazzier. This place is worth a detour, if only to see a bit of Tel Aviv you're unlikely to venture into for any other reason.

Avazi, 54 Etzel Street, Hatikva, Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel: +972 (0)3 687 9918

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