You learn something new every day, and today I’ve learned how an American style barbecue joint in Tel Aviv is able to offer pork on the menu. It’s illegal to import the meat into Israel, and it’s also illegal to raise them in the country, but there’s a handy loophole that allows farmers to keep pigs on wooden platforms raised off the ground. So now you know. Pundak De-Luxe in the Jaffa neighbourhood isn’t shy about its non-kosher meat selection either – it’s advertised boldly in the style of an old backlit cinema sign from the US. Interiors firm OPA has employed a number of Americanisms in its design to recreate the feel of the Williamsburg barbecue hangouts that prompted Pundak’s owners to set up shop.
Pundak (or Inn in Hebrew) is a come-as-you-are sort of place, with no airs and graces and the emphasis on music, good times and that lovely smoked meat, which is prepared in a kitchen that has been designed to look like a local butcher’s shop. The dark wood and beautiful Russo marble around the bar pays homage to the saloon-style BBQ restaurants of the American south, with a sharp urban edge cutting in via the artwork on the building’s exterior (courtesy of internationally-renowned local boys, Broken Fingaz) and the sheet metal covering the back wall inside. Smokin’.