Not every Picasso was a masterpiece, not every Lady Gaga tune is a smash hit. And so it goes with desserts: sometimes when creativity soars, actual dish appeal plummets and such was the case with my pavlova at one of Tel Aviv's best new restaurants. What is pavlova? It's a meringue-y dessert popular in New Zealand. Basically meringue and lots of fresh whipped cream and a bunch of fresh fruit thrown into the mix for maximum yum.
But not at Mizlala, where it was more like sickly colored frosting-esque goo, bits of black licorice and unappealing fruit wedges stuck on top, all seemingly fiendishly concocted for maximum yuck. A major crime against gustatory pleasure, since desserts are supposed to delight, not terrify.
Once when presented with a lemon tart plate onto which a few blueberries had been egregiously placed, the late great California radio personality, Vern Lanegrasse (aka the Hollywood Chef) summoned the waiter to demand that the chef remove the offending fruit. And rightly so. I was saddened and dismayed to find that Meir Adoni, who is one of Tel Aviv's great chefs, had given his green light not only to this bizarre-o pavlova platter, but authorized the cherries that were part of it to be un-pitted and inclusive of stems. Having to work at eating a dessert is almost as bad as having to pay for a bad one.
Now, this is not to say that Mizlala is not a fine restaurant -- it is, and that's why it gets my nod for Sexy Meal of the Week. And I am happy to report that the freak pavlova seems to have been removed from the menu. In any case, I'll take (and recommend) a sesame semifreddo over larva-like frosting swirls any day.
Photo ŠAnthony Grant