I had never been a fan of Namal 24, a pretentious restaurant in Haifa’s downtown. The restaurant serves pretty mediocre food at highly inflated prices. Restaurant’s chef deludes himself that abundance of green pea puree dabs all over plates makes them gourmet dishes. Still for all my reservations about Namal 24 I could not resist temptation to try a gourmet dinner offered in framework of French Cuisine Week in Israel. When booking table we were told that French chef Sébastien Sanjou offers eight course gourmet dinner.
What was supposed to be a fine dining turned into literally nauseating experience. Oyster cooked in goose liver broth was truly disgusting. At least three courses were accompanied by heavy egg/cream custards that tasted really sickly with an eggy texture and bits of scrambled eggs.
Meat part was represented by rare goose breast and lamb steak (actually piece of old greasy mutton), equally rubbery, poorly seared, accompanied by tasteless smears of sauce/puree and undercooked piece of fennel. Only out of curiosity we stayed for last two dessert courses. I’d be better off buying a chocolate snack in any convenience store. Profitroles looked like illustrations to chapter in culinary book “What can go wrong with choux pastry”. Chocolate tuiles were filled with some sickly sour cream and had level of sophistication familiar from recipes “so easy a seven year old could do them”.
I wonder how Sébastien Sanjou could allow this “gourmet food” to be served. I tried to ask himself when he came to our table but Israeli chef accompanying Sebastian firmly told us that Sebastian does not speak English and quickly took him away. Well, Sebastien, I know at least one word in French that says it all – merde.