Brunch at Endive in Ashdod.
(photo credit: PR)
Ashdod may not be the first place that springs to mind as the culinary capital of Israel, but an invitation to brunch at the Endive restaurant in the West Boutique Hotel proved to be a positive experience.
Ashdod is less than half an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, and one can walk along the clean white sands of the port and enjoy wonderful unpolluted air and invigorating sea breezes.
The West Hotel’s young and dynamic manager, Yaniv Adivi, has introduced some original ideas to update the traditional brunch.
In other countries, Sunday brunch is the ideal relaxed social occasion. In Israel, it’s Friday and provides a perfect answer to what one should wisely consume, bearing in mind the excessive eating most people do on Friday night to celebrate Shabbat.
Adivi became the manager of the popular hotel at the beginning of the year. With plenty of experience in major hotels in the center of the country, he first considered what he could do to develop business in his new job.
“There are several good restaurants in Ashdod that serve lunch, but for a good brunch there is far less choice,” he says.
Brunch at the West Hotel is served every day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To a background of pleasant light music, we settled down to sample the fare.
Our waitress came up with a great opening to our meal – two champagne flutes filled with the cold sparkling beverage guaranteed to lift the spirits. This was followed by excellent cups of hot, strong cappuccino.
And then it was time to sample the buffet. Although all the food was laid out on tables, we decided to organize our own three-course meal and take starters, mains and desserts.
Smoked salmon in small Armenian dishes came with capers and a dollop of sour cream and was top quality. There was Greek salad with feta cheese, tabouleh, Israeli salad of diced vegetables, pickled kohlrabi and – an example of the chef’s creative approach – cubes of Gouda cheese marinated in red wine.
Every kind of egg dish and omelette could be cooked to order; but if you don’t feel like waiting in line, there is shakshuka in pesto and cheese bourekas. A pizza station produced pizzas with every possible topping.
“We sometimes offer frittata or fish schnitzel, as we like to vary our buffet,” Adivi says.
For main courses we could choose from fillets of amnon (St. Peter’s fish) baked in the oven and topped with a green herb mix; quiches of all kinds and rissoles from sweet potato or carrot and courgette; pasta dishes; labane with sweet and sour vegetables; and a large selection of salads, cheeses and bread.
Desserts included warm cheese cake, Belgian waffles with syrup, and plenty of fruit all beautifully presented.
Brunch is priced at NIS 89 and is exceptionally good value for money.
With summer approaching, Adivi is planning more innovations, such as a yom kef
(fun day) at NIS 129, which will include the use of the hotel swimming pool and a meal.
Ashdod has a vibrant English-speaking community and plenty of tourist attractions. And for visitors, a warm welcome awaits at the West Hotel.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
West Boutique Hotel
21 Hatayelet, Ashdod
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