Tucked away, hidden from the bustle of the city, Tmol Shilshom is a gem of a café, where writers, musicians and artists come to drink wonderful coffee, exchange ideas, read plays or excerpts from their latest books whilst enjoying a leisurely breakfast in this tranquil setting in old Jerusalem.
Tmol Shilshom, endorsed by Trip Advisor embraces both old and new Jerusalem. Walking through the cobbled streets of Yoel Salomon, a haven of talent for sculpture, paintings and ceramics, sits unobtrusively above a shop the wrought iron sign of this renowned literary cafe that hosts events for well known writers to read their works to anyone who wants to enjoy the ambiance it provokes. It is by no means an obvious find, but as it is so well known amongst the artistic world of Jerusalem, it feels the necessity to keep its illustrious identity and wait for you to find it.
As I am intent on locating it, I follow the sign through the arch and a dim walkway, only to come out into a sunny courtyard, but still it is nowhere to be found. I turn to my right and see some old stone steps next to a wall with some new graffiti; I keep going and there surrounded by beautiful bushes and spring flowers growing up the turquoise handle rails of a wrought iron staircase is a quaint little patio, full of small round metal tables with chairs tucked inside. As I descend the steps, already people are drinking their morning coffee with friends, business partners or alone with their laptops. When the sun shines on the patio, it is warm but it is still only just spring here in Jerusalem, so not all the tables outside are full, but I know I have arrived, as there resting against the wall is the sign, larger this time but again in Hebrew and in English......Tmol Shilshom Restaurant, Café and Bookstore.
Inside the 130 year old building, the walls are lined with rows of books filled with literature, poetry and plays. Young students are reading to one another and there is a buzz in the air of people huddled together, talking and laughing, whilst enjoying the food, drink and atmosphere of this remarkable find.
The breakfast in no way disappoints, the humble vegetarian menu is delivered by friendly staff who compliment it's rustic charm. The classic shakshuka is served with bread, tahini and Israeli salad, but try the 'Baladi Shakshuka' for an extra 6 shekels, an addition of aubergine to the already unctuous sauce. I had their 'Healthy Morning', delicious homemade granola, served with fresh seasonal fruits and labane with date syrup, served with orange juice and a coffee or tea.
Although I have only eaten breakfast here, the all day menu of healthy vegetarian food from Tmol Shilshom's first chef Amanda Fisher Pinsker, is still as delightful and fresh as ever. This is a great find, full of character, and a wonderful way to start your day in Jerusalem.