Urban Cafe is a start-up cafe & dairy restaurant in an area adjacent to Mahane Yehuda where many restaurants, offering ethnic and unique food, are opening their doors. Urban Cafe has the same youthful atmosphere as the other places, with one great difference – it’s mehadrin!
Note: Urban Cafe has drastically modified its menu and changed its name to Urbun. It now serves a unique selection of homemade buns. I hope to update this review soon after I have checked out their new offerings.
Anecdotally, on a previous trip to this area I poked my head into a different restaurant, a meat one, that had opened recently . It looked like a really cool place, and the menu looked inviting. The restaurant had a kosher certificate from the Jerusalem Rabbinate which stated that the kosher supervision is mehuderet (מהודרת) – not mehadrin.
When I asked where the meat comes from, one of the owners they told me that they buy some of it from a local butcher in Mahane Yehuda. I made a quick call to the butcher and asked what hechsher he has. He said the store is under the supervision of the Jerusalem Rabbinate – mehadrin. I went to the shuk to take a look at his shop, and lo and behold his certificate said the supervision is not mehadrin. There was no mashgiach (kosher supervisor) present, and I understood that no one, except the owner of the butcher shop, really knew if all the meat there came from kosher sources. Bottom line, mehuderet is NOT mehadrin.
That’s why I was so happy to discover Josh Admon’s newly-opened Urban Cafe which is just as cool, but mehadrin.
Josh grew up in a secular family in Westwood, LA. That’s not far from Pacific Palisades where I grew up. Josh decided to drop out of college and enroll in culinary school to follow his dream of learning to become a chef. After several years of working in restaurants in the US, he decided to come on a trip to Israel, and here he got turned onto his Jewish roots at Aish HaTorah and he now lives with his growing family in a Jerusalem suburb.
Urban Cafe’s Ambiance
Urban Cafe is a two minute walk from Mahane Yehuda. It’s located on a small side street together with several other ethic and alternative-type restaurants. Seating is cafe style and the restaurant boosts indoor seating for those who want a bit more privacy and outdoor tables for those who like people-watching and enjoying the fresh, outdoor air.
There’s soft music playing in the background which provides a nice, relaxing atmosphere.
Josh’s Urban Cafe is bringing innovative, California-style food to the streets of Jerusalem. Let’s start off with the salads. I ordered the Chopped Mexican Quinoa salad which has romaine lettuce, quinoa, garden vegetables, sweet corn, black beans and cilantro topped with honey-lime vinaigrette dressing. The vegetables were fresh and the dressing was well-seasoned, but it didn’t overwhelm all the yummy veggies.
My wife ordered the Chinese Cabbage salad which includes white and red cabbage, carrots, green onion, cilantro, marinated tofu and toasted almonds accented by a sesame and ginger dressing.
The portions were generous and they were served with freshly baked buns prepared by the house. The buns are served with various mezzes.
The breakfast sandwich comes with two eggs (fried or omelette), your choice of cheese (cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar or mozzarella), fresh veggies, rocket leaves served on a baguette or ciabatta.
Other offerings include a bagel schmear (with an option of house-cured salmon), tuna melt, antipasto sandwich, two versions of a California-style pizza and two other salads.
You can choose from a variety of coffees and other beverages. I chose to try out the Jem’s beer, which is a local boutique beer made in Israel, from the tap. By the way, there is a growing number of boutique micro-breweries in the Holy Land and some of them are achieving impressive results. I enjoyed the Jem’s beer very much, and definitely would order it again.
To top off the evening, I ordered the Hertzel Stout Float which includes a generous scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and cold Hetzel’s beer topped with a splash of coffee liqueur. This float was a truly delicious way to end off a wonderful evening.
The service at Urban Cafe is friendly and fast. The waitress we had was all smiles and delivered our order on time. Josh makes sure everything is running smoothly and is always happy to respond to customers questions or to help out.
I would highly recommend Urban Cafe for the food and the other plusses I mentioned above and also to support this young entrepreneur who wants to provide an outstanding restaurant experience to Jerusalemites while maintaining high kashrut standards.
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Name of restaurant: Urban Cafe
Address: 5 Ha-Shikma St
Hours: Sun-Tues 8AM-5PM, Fri 8AM-3PM
Kashrut: Jerusalem Rabbinate Glatt Mehadrin
It is recommended to check the kashrut certificate and the expiration date
(1 = poor 5 = Awesome)