When dinner becomes most important meal of the day

Breakfast at Benedict in Tel Aviv is an all-day affair, especially when eaten at dinner time.

Not only eggs.. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Not only eggs..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Many people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Does that hold true if it’s eaten in the evening? Chef Guy Arbel at Benedict in Tel Aviv seems to believe so. Arbel is the head chef at the popular all-day breakfast chain, and he recently revamped the successful menu with the addition of new dishes from all over the world that are specifically designed for the evening.
Benedict has established itself over the years as the go-to spot for Tel Avivians looking for breakfast any time of the day. The branch on Rothschild is busy most of the time, whether it is the brunch/lunch set taking their time over a leisurely meal or the Tel Aviv party-goers settling down after a night out on the town. But now the restaurant is focusing on those looking to enjoy a sophisticated evening meal.
I was recently invited to try out the new and improved menu. In addition to many of the old favorite egg-based breakfasts from around the world, it includes a few dishes that are more suitable for later in the day.
Part of the charm at Benedict is that the staff make a point of creating a breakfast atmosphere, no matter what time you go there. My friend and I arrived at around 8 p.m. and were greeted by the hostess with a pleasant “Good morning.”
Our waitress continued with that chirpy morning spirit and didn’t stop smiling throughout the evening. She took the time to explain all the new additions to the menu, making sure that she knew exactly what both of our preferences were so she could match us with the correct choice.
Most of the main dishes at Benedict include some sort of drink, such as fresh juice, a champagne cocktail, a hot drink or iced coffee. Seeing as it was evening, the champagne cocktail seemed the obvious choice. I went for lychee, which came with a fresh lychee in the glass, while my friend had the mixed berry. Both were fresh tasting and provided a perfect start to the evening.
Another signature feature at Benedict is the selection of fresh breads that is brought to the table at the start of the meal. While this may be common in many restaurants, the addition of chocolate spread to the usual butter and jam adds to the breakfast atmosphere.
With both of us having experienced how large the portion sizes of the main courses at Benedict can be, we opted to share one of the small starters to make sure we’d have room for the main event. The roasted peppers stuffed with goat’s cheese (NIS 18) was a cute little portion that was full of flavor.
Of the four new main course options, I went for the Philly cheese steak sandwich (NIS 73), which consisted of homemade ciabatta (long, flat Italian bread) with strips of juicy steak with onion, mushrooms, Gouda cheese, chipotle aioli and two fried eggs. The dish was served with roasted cherry tomatoes, pepper ketchup and chips. In true Benedict style, the portion was huge. This was by no means a bad thing because it was full of flavor. The only complaint would be that that the bun was too big and took the focus away.
My friend opted for the Mexican taco breakfast (NIS 69). The dish consisted of three tortillas with chipotle aioli, frijoles, scrambled eggs with chorizo sausage and onion, jalapeno and lime sauce with tomato salsa, served with grilled corn on the cob and guacamole. It’s a good thing he likes spicy food because it certainly had a kick to it.
We finished the meal with two miniature, almost bite-size, desserts – classic cheesecake and wild berry Krembo. The small tasters were a perfect end to the meal and didn’t leave us feeling too full.
It may seem strange that an allday breakfast place would launch a new menu with dishes that are more suited to the evening, but the beauty of chef Arbel’s menu is that there is always something that will suit each person at any time of the day. Add to that the influences from all over the world, and there is no excuse for not finding something on the menu to enjoy.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Benedict Not kosher29 Rothschild Boulevard (03) 686-8657 Open daily, 24 hours