Celebrate at home

A tried-and-true quartet of vendors dispatching great food during lockdown

Lorenz and Mintz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Lorenz and Mintz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mintz resurrects Lorenz

The café of Sir Lorenz was the in-place for high society during the British Mandatory period, until times changed and the place faded into history. In recent years, when the Conservative movement refurbished the premises where the place once stood, the premises were leased by Nili Cohen-Mintz, who had studied French cuisine in Bourgogne.

Chef Nili once dreamed of opening a fine dining French restaurant in Israel, but quickly discovered that “Israelis were not turned on by classics like snails and frogs’ legs.” Instead, she adapted French specialties for her kosher (dairy) cafe, now specializing in breakfast/brunch and catering boutique events (including as the exclusive caterer for smahot at the Neve Shechter synagogue).

Her current French-Israeli menu features three main sections: Complete Breakfasts comprising a trio of tapas, main course, bread basket and drink (NIS 64-79); Supplementary Dishes (NIS 38-89); and Specialties of the House (NIS 55-74). Not everything on the menu – like Eggs Benedict, for example – is suitable for delivery; but those that are, are featured on the restaurant’s [Hebrew only] online delivery menu (which also identifies which ones are the most popular).

Among the many tempting entrées, I particularly enjoyed these dishes representing categories from the three primary categories (in the order listed above): Croque Madame/Monsieur, thick brioche-style toast filed with mushroom truffle cream, as well as Gouda and Parmesan cheeses; “Surprise” Salad, combining greens, garlic confit, [yellow and red] cherry tomatoes (this vegetable is replaced by orange sections in winter), slivered almonds and goat cheese; and Savory Knaffeh – crispy kadaif layered with five kinds of [white] cheese and charred eggplant, served with a spicy tomato salad and tzatziki.

Finally, there are only two desserts, of which I sampled the decadent crack pie, which was sent over the top by the accompanying burnt toffee sauce.

Lorenz and Mintz
Kosher.
Neve Shechter, Aharon Chelouche St. 42, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-901-8070

Vegan squared

Chef Maya Aloni has established a pair of informal vegan eateries in north Tel Aviv that have become institutions in their own right: Alegria, featuring “comfort food,” and Dosa Bar, specializing in cuisine from the south of India, under the slogan “healthy power food.”The centerpiece of the latter eatery’s totally vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free menu is, not surprisingly, the eponymous dosas: thin, crispy crepes made from a batter of fermented lentil flour, filled with stewed vegetables. Their classic masala dosa – with a potato filling – is undeniably authentic, sending me straight back to my days in Kerala.

One may also order dishes from the pan-Indian kitchen, such as the daily thali – combination meals pairing flavorful vegetable concoctions with delicate long-grained rice – as well as the familiar malai kofta, or palak paneer, with cubed tofu substituting for the fresh white cheese swimming in dark green spinach cream. Other South Indian Dosa Bar staples are uttapam (savory pancakes) and idly (steamed rice patties) with dips.

The Alegria menu offers a lot to choose from: six sections from the sit-down restaurant – Breakfast, Starters, Sandwiches, Salads, Hot Dishes and Desserts - plus five categories of items from the deli section (salads, cooked food, spreads, sauces and vegan cheeses). The kitchen is masterful in its versatile employment of tofu, as well as lentils and grains.

Highlights from each section of the latter menu include the famous Moroccan hraime, with tofu standing in for fish; two-color quinoa salad with orange lentils, caramelized onions, cranberries, roasted almonds, parsley and green onions; a slew of creative salads, from Asian to sprouts, and mock egg salad (among the ingredients contributing to the yellow color is the powerful antioxidant spice turmeric) to potato salad; the house coconut cream curry sauce; and probiotic cashew labaneh with choice of primary seasoning.

Alegria
Kosher/vegan
Ibn Gvirol St. 165, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-613-6964

Dosa Bar
Kosher/vegan
Ben Yehuda St. 180, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-659-1961

Delicatessen expands to four locations

The Delicatessen (with a capital D) chain is the takeaway and bakery arm of the formidable R2M chain, whose popular restaurants – such as La Brasserie, Coffeebar and Hotel Montefiore – are regularly featured in these pages. More recently, the brand has received a boost as founder Ruti Broudo is morphing into a celebrity chef by virtue of her role as a judge on MKR The Winning Kitchen television show with co-host Haim Cohen.

Delicatessen has grown from one outlet in downtown Tel Aviv to encompass four locations throughout the city (plus several stand-alone bakery outlets).

This is our lone entry this week that is not kosher, although Delicatessen does prepare holiday classics inspired by Jewish culinary tradition.

For example, there are kreplach – the version here uniquely flecked on the pale surface with green herbs – and Delicatessen’s own brand of horseradish with beets. The main dish I tried was “pareve” pasta bolognese: shell pasta in a zesty tomato sauce continuing neither ground meat nor Parmesan cheese. This turned out to be a versatile thing, since at home I could add one or the other, or, on the other hand, cottage cheese or vegan grated cheese.

The bakery section turns out a grand selection of fine cakes and pastries, including light cream puffs, filled with creme patissiere and glazed with a caramel candy shell.

Delicatessen
Not Kosher
Oppenheimer St. 9, Tel Aviv.
Phone: 03-968-1010