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Montefiore Hotel + Restaurant Tel Aviv

On Season

You can’t do everything in life but you sure can lunch with style and aplomb in Montefiore Hotel downtown Tel Aviv. It’s housed in a 1920s ‘Eclectic’ style building and was the city’s first boutique hotel when it opened in 2008. A peachy presence peeking through the street fernery of Lev Ha’ir (“Heart of the City District”) gives way indoors to a monochromatic jazzy look. Architect Moshe Lovrinzki designed the original house; architect Gad Halperin restored it in 2000. Eight years later, then husband and wife team Mati and Ruti Broudo opened the 12 bedroom hotel and accompanying street level restaurant. Mati recently told The Times of Israel, “Out of all the cities I have lived in – New York, London, Paris and Rome – Tel Aviv is the most diverse and interesting walking city. It’s probably my favourite city in the world.” We almost agree. It’s our joint favourite as we’re equally loving the oldest and the newest cities in the Holy Land.

The Montefiore Cocktails list is optimistically titled “Spring is Here I Hear”. It includes two non alcoholic beverages and eight signature drinks: Champagne Cocktail, Hôtel le Grand, Madame Rouge, Mai Tai, Oh Fashioned, Puebla, Put It On the Spritz and Tokyo Club. The wine list is extensive with a good Israeli representation including Ayalon Valley, Eliad, Neve Yarak, Noble, Shoresh and Yatir Forest. We opt for a Noble Flam 2013 with its big attitude big flavour. The wine list is in five sections. White: one Georgian, one Portuguese, two Austrian, two German, two Spanish, five Greek, five Italian, 36 French and 19 Israeli. Red: one Portuguese, four Austrian, eight Spanish, 27 Italian, 34 French and 41 Israeli. Rosé: one Italian, four French and two Israeli. Amber and Skin Contact: one Italian, two Georgian and three Israeli. Sparkling: 23 French, one Austrian and one Georgian.

The food is international with a nod to France and a hint of Malaysia. Starter is endive, stilton, red pear, caramelised onions. Main course is Jerusalem artichoke, poached egg, pistachio. Our waiter nails it with, “Do you fancy apricot and almond tart with whipped crème fraîche on the terrace?” The bill comes with tipping suggestions: 12 percent basic service, 15 percent good service, 18 percent very good service and 20 percent excellent service. Maybe it’s the sun or the Madame Rouge (Hendrick’s Lunar, St Germaine, liqueur de violettes, lavender, creole bitter) or simply excellent service but we’re feeling generous. There’s a season for everything, even if it can’t all be done, and this is a time to love.

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Salthill House + Gardens Donegal

A Time to Dance

1 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Palpable duality of contrapuntal existence, an Anglo Irish nexus, items portrayed through a complex process of reference to abstractions, concepts, historical and mythological systems of thought or even transcendent truths. Neither proponents of obscurantism nor protagonists of ersatz esoteric ramblings, we boast uncluttered minds though to the more simplistic aesthetic they are a macédoine of furnishings. Lacking aversion to exegetical exposition, a steeplechase, hill to hill, of heated incisions through the membranous timescape unfolds.

2 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

3 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

5 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

4 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

6 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

7 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

An overwhelmingly horizontal patchwork of fields and gorse and ditches, exceedingly silent, desertedly dark, spills into the languorous nostalgia of Donegal Bay beneath a watery sky. A misshapen nave of windswept trees, a cold blue procession of low light, leads to a house drawn of charcoal grey, a bastion of the Ascendancy, standing proud in splenetic isolation. Salthill, the 18th century agent’s house with the 21st century walled garden. Built for the Conynghams, lived in by the Temples of Magee Clothing. Soon, ceaseless images dispersed, we will dine with Gabhan O’Keeffe in unresting London at Lemonia, the Greek restaurant in Primrose Hill.

8 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

9 Salthill Gardens Donegal © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley