The Library Bar.
(photo credit: GIL AVIRAM)
Rich eggs dishes, pancakes and waffles are all delicious foods normally eaten before noon. However, what if you like brunch dishes so much you wish the meal was extended until the evening? (Or if you are a teenager-at-heart and still find yourself waking up late in the afternoon?) Thankfully, a new culinary trend, which is becoming more and more popular, is here to the rescue. Meet the “brinner” – a meal that allows one to enjoy the delights of a rich breakfast at dinnertime.
Think brunch dishes and cocktails – but even more sophisticated and perhaps a little more elegant – that is brinner.
Nowhere in Tel Aviv is more suited for an introduction to the concept than The Norman Hotel’s Library Bar. The Library is one of the most elegant spaces in Tel Aviv – a haven of European gentlemen’s club style – the bar itself is a work of art.
Renowned Chef Barak Aharoni serves his famous breakfasts and brunches at The Norman’s Alena Restaurant. Next door to Alena, on the ground floor of The Norman, is the hotel’s Library Bar, led by expert mixologist Noy Davidai. The Library is one of the most elegant meeting places in town.
Aharoni and Davidai joined forces and came up with the special brinner menu that offers elegant dishes and exquisite cocktails that, unfortunately for the time being, will be available only on Wednesday nights from 6 p.m.
Taking brunch staple dishes such as eggs, French toast, brioche bread, salmon and cheeses, the menu also includes dishes that reflect local cuisine, offering their version of sabich, a local filling breakfast dish, pastels (a sort of burek), and halumi cheese, as well as sophisticated version of brunch cocktails, including a take on the mimosa, Bloody Mary and more.
We started with a light dish of halumi cheese with wilted spinach and honey sauce. With it we got our cocktails – a perfect mimosa – made from cold-pressed fresh orange juice, Campari and sparkling wine (NIS 48). Lovely and not too sweet, “cold pressed” means the juice has more pulp, and the cocktail was both refreshing and a great start for the evening.
Across the table, my dinner companion ordered the Red Snapper cocktail – a take on the Bloody Mary, made from tomato juice, horseradish, capers and seasoning, and of course, premium vodka (NIS 58). The halumi dish was light and delicious.
Next, I had to try the brioche French toast with crème fraîche and local caviar (NIS 88). And across the table the choice was very clear: the bar’s famous hamburger, topped with goose liver.
I like to make French toast from day-old challa, and at home, I serve it savory rather than sweet. Luckily, so does Chef Aharoni. His version was absolutely the best I had ever tried. A round slice of fried brioche, placed over a sauce made from cheese, with rich egg yolk, and topped with crème fraîche and black caviar (NIS 88). A feast for the eyes, it was so delicious and elegant. I tried to eat very small bites and very slowly, savoring every mouthful.
The hamburger, we were told, is the Library’s most popular dish, and for a good reason: It is simply excellent. Usually served with bacon or cheese, the burger patty is made from hand-chopped entrecote and is cooked to perfection. In the brinner menu, they replace the cheese with a slice of goose liver that melts on the burger, adding richness and flavor (NIS 118).
Other dishes on the menu looked very enticing. We had our eye on the French toast with a topping of salmon and kale (NIS 64), the savory bread pudding with cheese and beetroot (NIS 72), and the Mediterranean pastelitos with soft-boiled egg (NIS 84).
The Library at The Norman Tel Aviv
23-25 Nachmani Street Tel Aviv,
Daily: 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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