OCD opened several months ago in Noga neighborhood, an area that is becoming a creative center in Old Jaffa. OCD offers a unique culinary experience in the TLV scene. First it only offers a set degustation menu and second, the place contains only 18 seats located around the bar overlooking the open kitchen. I was first exposed to this way of dining in Tokyo, and since then it has definitely become my favorite. It provides a great view to the kitchen action and enables direct interaction with the kitchen staff. It also prevents awkward situations where your waiter doesn’t know which fish he just served you (happened to me in a pretty expensive restaurant).
Raz Rahav is the man behind the OCD and runs the kitchen. He previously worked in Popina, a renowned restaurant in Neve Tzedek and also interned in Eleven Madison Park in NYC. From our conversation with him and as apparent by his cooking style, he has had a chance to visit top restaurants such as Nomad and Atera to absorb some of their cuisine as inspiration. Rahav runs a quite successful Instagram account under the moniker Razi Barvazi, racking up many fans and more than ten thousand followers.
OCD performs two services every evening at 19:00 and at 21:30 which cost 280₪\$72 per person, and require reservation. Last friday was the first time OCD served brunch, and their plan is to serve it once a month. The next brunch will be served on July 29th and seats are being booked pretty fast. There are three rounds offered – at 11:00,13:00 and 15:00, which is the set we reserved for (due to lack of other options by the time I called in). We arrived early and ordered two Moscow Mules (34₪\$9 each) at the bar. The cocktails had vodka, ginger and ginger beer and were light and refreshing, which suited us well on a hot and humid Friday noon. The other “Cocktails which are very good for noon”, as the menu proclaims, were Bloody Mary (“As classic as it gets”) and “Arakusbara with OCD”.
As the meal started after all guests have arrived, chef Rahav introduced himself and invited us to walk around the kitchen at any time. This invitation repeated itself several times throughout the meal, and we gladly accepted it, darting into the kitchen to snap some closeups of the action. Rahav also encouraged us to ask whatever questions we had and let them know of any complaint or problem we encountered. This sits well with the chef’s instagram persona, which knows the value of a good picture. Having that said though, the lighting in OCD leaves much to be desired, with the only natural light in the dark dining area coming through the entrance doors, and above the bar tungsten lanterns cast hard shadows directly onto the bar surface.
The brunch costs 150₪\$39 per person and includes 5 dishes as well as a shared appetizer.
When serving the appetizer Rahav called it their “bread basket”. This is a reference to a staple of the Israeli breakfast\brunch which always includes a basket with freshly baked bread. On a plate chilled with ice cubes lay some fresh and poached vegetables like tomatoes, carrot and asparagus and a dip in the center.
Along with the appetizer we received the first dish – purple sweet potato tuile, home-made labneh, salmon roe, baby sakura leaves and seaweed powder. This good combination of flavors created a savory crispy snack which served as a fun and light way to open the meal.
The next dish was fun to watch as it was meticulously prepared with the utmost care by the kitchen staff – Trout sashimi, buttermilk vinaigrette, compressed cucumbers with gin, pickled shallots, dill oil, lemon powder, capers aioli and puffed buckwheat. We really liked this dish with its combination of soft trout and crunchy puffed buckwheat. This dish is also served in their dinner menu and comes as a contrast to the next two dishes.
If up until now all dishes came from the fine dining genre, complete with precise and delicate plating, the next two dishes are a complete turnaround. It seems as if they are much more inspired by the food truck scene, the type of dishes you can’t eat without getting dirty. The first one is probably our favorite dish – shrimp roll with celery fondue, nigella seeds and mustard aioli. The meaty cold shrimps sit comfortably inside a freshly baked bun and work well with the mustard aioli sauce. Lucky for you this dish is here to stay and will be part of next brunches as well.
Next up was Tvorog cheese pancakes (Sirnichky), dry aged rib eye burger, beet chutney, 63.7 degrees egg and demi glace. From the description it sounds like a dreamy dish. But the reality is much more fragmented and unfocused. First, the demi glace didn’t connect well with the rest of the ingredients. In addition the cheese pancakes felt heavy and condensed. The overall outcome was too salty, massive and confused. With fluffier pancakes and minus the demi glace we feel this dish could have been a winner.
For dessert we served another take on an Israeli breakfast staple – muesli, a dish based on raw rolled oats mixed with yogurt. OCD’s interpretation was comprised of buttermilk creme, apricot and Jasmin jam, salty granola, honey parfait and dried raspberry powder and is self described as “out of control muesli”. This was a fantastic dessert, fresh and creamy. Even though Opher is not a big fan of yogurt he left the plate sparkling clean.
With an inviting atmosphere brought on by the staff and the well designed industrial interior, eating in OCD feels very pleasant. The experience is as non-Israeli as you can get in some senses, and we mean that in a good way. The hype Raz Rahav and his team have been getting in the Israeli media is very well deserved. We will surely be back here in the future.