When I first moved to my apartment located in the heart of the Jerusalem Market, I lived above no less than 4 “Mizrachi” style bars. ach would be open till late at night and the entertainment consisted of really loud singalongs of classic Moroccan and Iraqi musical scores. At first it was kind of charming but I soon grew weary of the drunken brawls and the total absence of quiet. I was certain that if I heard another rowdy rendition of “Shalom Leh Ben Dodi” accompanied by darbouka I would kill someone…. and this is coming from someone who likes Mizrachi music. But as Jerusalem becomes safer and safer, and as random terrorism becomes a distant historical footnote, real estate values have started to escalate and my once predominantly Sephardic neighborhood has seen a growing number of paler skinned interlopers.
There are now a number of chichi bars in the ‘hood, the big growth industry here is capuccino serving cafes and while I was Thailand, one of the rowdy bars closed down and an Indian vegetarian joint rose in its stead. Now there are only 2 rowdy bars outside my window. But I am glad that my usual fare of rice stuffed peppers from Rachmo can be supplemented with the really savory, reasonably priced fare available at Ichikidana – the aforementioned Indian veggie place. Now I don’t know anything about Indian food – but whatever the hell I ate was yummy. It was a big plate of vegetable goop, rice and yogurt and this flat bread I guess they call Nan. The owners were pleasant, the service was good and I couldn’t help but notice these dirty Israeli hippies who I imagine spent a lot of time in India after their army service, nod in approval – which is a good thing because they would know, right?
So next time you’re in the shuk – give these guys a spin. They are on 4 Ha-Eshkol street just off the open shuk area by the pita guys across from Rachmo and they are Kosher Leh Mehadrin though when was the last time you saw a Haredi guy eating Indian food? I don’t know, but you can’t eat Marzipan Rugelach all the time.