Breakfast at Benedict.
(photo credit: SARIT GOFEN)
It was mid-afternoon when I entered the suburban Benedict and was greeted by the hostess with a cheery “Boker tov.” I thought nothing of it until our waitress also wished us “Good morning.” When I asked what was going on, she told us, “It’s alway morning at Benedict.”
The Benedict brand is indeed identified with breakfast served 24/7, a modus operandi that has propelled the chain’s growth to encompass nine branches spanning the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area (although the English-language website lists only six of them). The extensive menu might focus on breakfast/brunch foods, but there are also plenty of tempting dishes suitable for morning, noon and night.
In addition, several times a year, Benedict introduces special breakfasts, some of which may or may not eventually make their way onto the permanent menu. This month, for 28 days only, Benedict goes on a “world tour,” featuring six international breakfasts: Greek, Parisian, Balinese, American, Catalonian and Turkish.
The chain obviously invested a great deal of thought and preparation not only into creating these unique dishes but also into designing and printing impressive new menus, including a dedicated English menu.
It was not an easy choice settling on only two of these interesting dishes. We knew we wanted one of the three – the Bali, the Barcelona or the Alabama Sunrise – that also comes with Benedict’s famous basket of bread: three kinds of warm rolls with free refills.
Served with butter, marmalade and Nutella spread, it is impossible to leave the restaurant hungry, no matter which breakfast you order.
All the breakfasts come with a side salad and a beverage of your choice, with the exception of the Parisian Benedict, which doesn’t include a beverage. A nice perk is that the complimentary beverage option even extends to the four house mimosas. Or one may order any of the eight other specialty cocktails for the reduced price of NIS 12 (instead of the usual NIS 32).
While we perused the menu, the manager suggested we begin with a starter and recommended the grilled Portobello (NIS 24) – meaty mushrooms marinated in olive oil, garlic and thyme, topped with discs of goat cheese and drizzled generously with balsamic vinaigrette. The mushrooms and cheese were an excellent combination. We also liked the dressing, but next time we would request it on the side.
Our first choice of European breakfast was the Parisian Benedict (NIS 88): duck thigh and goose breast cooked in white wine and mustard, served on a toasted croissant with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. The meat, which was fall-off-the-bone tender, was hearty and rich, complemented perfectly by the semi-soft poached egg on a buttery croissant.
The Egg Balls Barcelona (NIS 76), meanwhile, was served in a skillet containing Benedict’s signature egg balls, along with mussels and sliced chorizo, in a smoked tomato sauce made with white wine, garlic, parsley, green onion, olive oil and a hint of chili pepper. The freshness of the plump mussels was evident, while the zesty morsels of sausage added a nice layer of complexity to this satisfying dish.
In addition to the bottomless bread basket, the Egg Balls Barcelona came with a cocotte of sour cream and three slices of toast, ideal for sopping up the piquant sauce.
Finally, while the Sutlac Istanbul (NIS 42) was the lone representative of the Middle East among the breakfasts, it also turned out to be a good choice for dessert. The milk-based rice pudding – smothered with ripe banana, strawberries, granola, pellets of dark chocolate and flakes of toasted coconut – was a sweet and delicious finale to a distinctive and memorable meal.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Benedict Not kosher G Shopping Mall, Kfar Saba Tel: (03) 686-8657, ext. 6