Upscale coffee houses and Bnei Brak? It’s not the association people usually make with the city known for being one of Israel’s most religiously strict and least affluent. But on the northern edge of the city is a burgeoning business district, overloaded with construction sites and dotted with glittering glass towers.
This is the setting for Arcaffe’s 31st branch and only the second kosher one.
Despite the cafe’s sleek industrial decor, the food was classic Israeli fare. I started off my brunch off with a hot drink. As a seated patron, though, I was taken aback when the waiter asked whether I would like the coffee served in a paper cup or a ceramic mug. Surprisingly, some restaurant goers had chosen the paper option. The cappuccino, served in a mug, was well balanced and topped with an expertly drawn heart in the foam.
Small cream cheese and lox sandwiches opened the meal. They were served on small round buns and included pickled lemon, a uniquely Israeli take on the Ashkenazi classic and actually a great pairing.
Alongside sandwiches were sesame-topped cheese burekas and a variety of warm focaccia, ranging from a simple za’atar sprinkled offering to ones topped with roasted vegetables and cheese.
The main course was the standard Israeli breakfast consisting of hearty brown bread, labane and cream cheeses, tuna and avocado salads, cinnamon jam and a chopped Israeli salad on the side. This course, served on an elegant two-tiered platter, was finished off with a modest orange coffee cake, best dipped in coffee.
Arcaffe’s latest locale is set apart from the rest by the markedly non-Israeli atmosphere, centering around high-quality coffee, very modern decor and soft jazz standards. From what I observed, it’s already becoming the go-to power brunch spot for the business crowd.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
5 Kinneret, Bnei Brak