Good Morning Sunshine Benedict Bakery.
(photo credit: SARIT GOFFEN)
There is no lack of bakery-cumcafé chains in Israel, so it was a little surprising to hear that a new one was making its debut this spring. But when the company behind the new venture is Benedict, owners of the hugely successful chain of 24-hour breakfast restaurants, it pays to sit up and take notice.
The first Good Morning Sunshine outlet opened its doors just last month, in a neighborhood of Herzliya fairly devoid of restaurants, even though it is adjacent to the burgeoning campus of the Interdisciplinary Center. The food on offer is designed for take-away as well as eat-in, and there is a pleasant al fresco area in front with plenty of shady umbrellas.
The large yellow banner greeting customers inside reads “Good Morning Sunshine Benedict Bakery” in English only. That is the only English to be found here, however, as there are no menus, not even in Hebrew. Everything for sale is displayed on shelves, some refrigerated, along with tongs for self-service. Although most items need no identifying, some are labeled in handwritten Hebrew; very few items are marked with prices.
One very interesting prominent notice, meanwhile – in Hebrew only – warrants being translated in full and reproduced here verbatim: “Absolutely not a kashrut certificate. According to a stupid law, we are not allowed to tell you that the food here is kosher, so we won’t. According to the same idiotic law, we are not even allowed to declare that it is permissible under Jewish law to eat all the food here, even though it is the truth. The Chief Rabbinate forbids us to tell you the truth, that all the food here is absolutely kosher, so we will not say so. But if the Rabbinate were to permit us to tell the truth, we would tell you not only that the food here is kosher, but also that it is untainted by bribes paid to the Rabbinate.”
To reinforce the restaurant’s unofficial kashrut claim, Benedict’s Noa Yosefovitch points out that the baked goods at Good Morning Sunshine originate in the chain’s central plant in Kadima, which is certified kosher. Products are delivered fresh daily to all the company’s restaurants. Good Morning Sunshine serves separate sandwiches containing meat, alongside cheese sandwiches. According to Yosefovitch, however, the two will never be combined in the same sandwich.
Sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes (NIS 14-39) and are made using a variety of Benedict’s original breads and rolls and even burekas and croissants. We sampled a goat cheese sandwich on a beet roll studded with walnuts, which was delicious.
Another distinctive and excellent sandwich was hard-boiled egg and cheese in a flaky sesame bureka.
There is a nice selection of stuffed focaccias (NIS 23-29), including a sinfully rich, torpedoshaped focaccia with mushrooms, truffle spread and St. Maure cheese. Another, surprisingly buttery, focaccia boasted a winning combination of spinach, cream cheese and hard-boiled egg.
Quiches are available in both personal and family sizes (NIS 27/69). The sweet potato and red onion versions were both cheesy and tasty, with nice pie crusts.
The shelf below the quiches contains a number of packaged salads (NIS 32-39), all of which are large enough to be shared by two.
Plastic forks, knives and spoons are provided, but not convenient plates to eat from.
Like all bakeries, Good Morning Sunshine is chock full of baked desserts, with cakes and sweet croissants prominent among them. For Shavuot, the restaurant has unveiled two types of cheesecake, and we were impressed by the juicy apple strudel. There is also fruit salad for a healthier option.
There is a full range of bottled beverages: soft drinks, juices, and alcoholic drinks – beer, wine and pre-mixed cocktails. As anyone familiar with Benedict knows, there is really good freshly brewed hot and cold coffee (NIS 16/17); the latter may be ordered on the rocks or dispensed as a frozen drink.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.Good Morning Sunshine Kosher, without certification (closed on Shabbat) 42 Nathan Alterman St., Herzliya Tel: (09) 886-2191