Tmol Shilshom. Those were the days.

December 13, 2005

When Ticho House disappointed us with a very last minute cancellation of their wine and cheese Tuesday Jazz night, we got up, annoyed, and turned to something more reliable: Tmol Shilshom.

Tmol Shilshom is cozy. Like Ticho House, it is housed in an old stone Jerusalem domacile – three of them actually. Its name is the biblical idiom closest to the word nostalgia – literally meaning “yesterday and three days ago” but used to mean “the good ol’ days” in the parlance of our times.  We usually opt for the non- smoking side.  Both sides are quaintly decorated with plush sofa chairs, upholstered mohagany chairs, antique tables and tealights shining throughout. The walls are covered with bookshelves, stuffed with books of all subjects and languages.


First off, they make the best commerical shakshuka in Jerusalem so far. The Best Shakshuka in Jerusalem has yet to be determined equivically – we are systematically examining the competitors – but Tmol’s is certainly high in the running.

shakshukaShakshuka is hebrew for eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. At Tmol they ask you if you can handle the “charif” when you order, offering a mild version as well. They also serve theirs with an excellent fresh salad (with herb vinnaigrette and a dollop of labane) and with their delicious home-made bread – full of flax seeds and sesame. We took the waitress up on her offer of a special selection of dips and spreads for 12 shekel instead of the usual twenty-something and she brought them out with the delectible bread straight away. There was a pesto, a sun dried tomato spread, a bean dip and a balsamic dip.  All were tasty.


dips2The shakshuka arrives in a steaming hot cast iron skillet.  It will burn you, let it cool.  Wait and it will not disappoint, the yolks will run when you prick them with your fork.


Ordered a beer. The bottle was cold, but the beer was not. I have to assume this was a one-time oversight.


salmonThe Salmon in the white wine and fig sauce came with a side of baked sweet potato and green salad. The salmon was dry and we don’t recommend it.


If you are there to eat, stick to the hearty salads, the pastas or the shakshuka. Coming specifically for dessert is a good idea too- or with an old friend to sit and drink coffee, or the hot cocoa with marshmallows.  They have a nice selection of hot drinks.  And best of all, they are perfectly used to folks sitting around for hours with a mug of something, that turns from steamy to cold as they while away the time chatting or reading.  You will not get any rolling eyes or subtle hints about vacating. 

  For the record – we do keep kosher, and have no complexes about it.  Tmol is under the Jersualem Rabbinate.

So overall, this place is awesome.  It is a Yerushalmi treasure and we will always go back, specifically for the atmosphere, it is romantic and heartwarming, only missing a fireplace!




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