'Palomino': Friday Italian brunch in Israel - review

I have been a fan of Palomino since it opened two years ago. So when Alon Ravia, one of the owners of Palomino, invited me to their new Friday brunch, I was happy to say yes.

 Palomino (photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)
(photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)

Lately, I find myself reviewing brunches that also seem to be somewhat of a new trend in Israeli restaurants. Hotels, of course, have always had the abundant Israeli breakfast usually included in the price of the room.

The advantages of a Friday brunch are obvious. It’s a great way to start the weekend and if you time it correctly and eat strategically, you should just be getting hungry again when it’s time for Shabbat dinner.

I have been a fan of Palomino since it opened two years ago. First of all, any restaurant that has a neon sign saying “Leave the gun and take the cannoli” knows what it’s doing. I have enjoyed their happy hour numerous times (pro tip: it’s 1+1 on cocktails every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m.). I also like the tapas idea where you order a few small plates to share and get to taste several dishes.

What's on the menu at Palomino's new Friday brunch?

So when Alon Ravia, one of the owners of Palomino, invited me to their new Friday brunch, I was happy to say yes. The brunch here is a combination of a buffet and ordering from a menu, in effect the best of both worlds and costs NIS 98 per person. There is a kids meal of omelet or scrambled eggs or a fried egg plus a drink for NIS 55.

The buffet is limited but each dish is very good. Most interesting among the buffet dishes was a tuna carpaccio dusted with parmigiana cheese. The tuna was sliced thinly, as carpaccio should be. Next to it was an even better cured salmon that was sliced more thickly. I am a huge fan of raw or cured fish and I enjoyed this very much.

 Palomino (credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN) Palomino (credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)

There was a very good Caesar salad, a cherry tomato salad and several goat cheeses from Gad Dairy. My only disappointment was the bread. It was not made on-site and was served cut into chunks. Perhaps it had been cut too early but the bread was slightly stale. I didn’t bother going back for more bread as I had more than enough food without it.

There are six choices from the menu. I chose the Eggs Benedict, which was poached eggs on toasted brioche, with spinach, cream and Hollandaise sauce that was obviously homemade. It was a delicious dish.

My favorite daughter chose the French toast, which also came on brioche bread with whipped cream, cinnamon, maple syrup and strawberries. She saved me a small piece, which I had for dessert.

Each breakfast comes with a glass of orange juice or lemonade and one hot drink – in my case, a strong cappuccino.

You can also add NIS 10 or NIS 15 and magically turn your juice into a cocktail – a mimosa, lemon arak, Aperol spritz or orange Campari. Now, I usually don’t drink during the day (wink, wink) but felt a deep responsibility to my readers to try an alcoholic beverage (notwithstanding the fact that I had tried several cocktails there in the past) so I upgraded to an orange Campari, which made me very happy.

My only other complaint was that there wasn’t any dessert on offer. Alon says he could offer desserts but then would have to raise the price. Overall, it was great value for money, which kept me full until Shabbat dinner.

Palomino Italian LoungeKing George St. 41Friday brunch 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.Phone: 077-362-7511Kashrut: Tzohar

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.