Rama has been involved in artistic endeavors all her life. Since early childhood she has been a dancer and studied, taught and was involved in dance, movement and choreography.
Nineteen years ago she began dancing with the pots and pans in her kitchen and pirouetted into the world of culinary arts and hospitality. All the restaurant’s culinary activities are orchestrated by chef Tomer Nir, a graduate of London’s Fat Duck restaurant. He is also an accomplished contrabassist who regards cooking and music as art forms that combine exploration and learning about the world and the spontaneous expression of emotions. The ongoing discourse between Rama and Tomer results in the creation of innovative dishes made using modern cooking techniques that make optimal use of local ingredients.
In its early days the restaurant was located in Rama’s garden in Nataf and was open to the public in spring and summer only. The original menu focused on traditional local Arab dishes and guests dining on an open wooden verandah enjoyed a congenial atmosphere as well as a spectacular view of summer blooms in the expansive landscape of the Judean Hills.
2008 was a turning point for the restaurant. Tomer Niv joined the Kitchen team’s endeavors and Rama decided to share the ambience of winter in the hills with her guests. The winters in Nataf have a magic of their own, with whistling winds from the sea and the open view of the surrounding hills, which even the cynics among us find entrancing from their places by the fireplaces indoors.
The restaurant’s menu is and is based on fresh local ingredients and updated periodically according to the changing seasons. All aspects of the restaurant’s activities reflect its close connection to the soil and the produce thereof.
All fruit and vegetables are organic, either home-grown or from neighboring growers, while the herbs used grow in the nursery (managed by Uzi, Rama’s husband) that surrounds the restaurant and in a plot on a nearby hill where edible herbs grow profusely. Gathering fresh herbs and vegetables from various plots is part of our daily routine.
The restaurant’s décor also reflects simplicity and connection to the soil, with rough-wood tables made by Uzi, hand-crafted ceramic crockery, and freshly picked wild flowers adorning each table. And our no-music policy allows our guests to listen to nature, themselves and each other.