Benedict introduces ‘brinner’

The growing restaurant chain’s new menu merges breakfast and dinner.

"Brinner" at Benedict (photo credit: SARIT GOFEN)
"Brinner" at Benedict
(photo credit: SARIT GOFEN)
It was only fitting that for a review of the newest edition of the menu offered by Benedict, Israel’s continuously expanding chain of 24-hour restaurants specializing in breakfast, I visit its newest branch. Open for less than a year, the impressive Benedict in Bitan Aharon is the anchor establishment of a small commercial center located at the Havatzelet HaSharon interchange of the coastal highway (Route 2) just north of Netanya.
“This is the northernmost Benedict in the country,” says manager Daniel, “and we get lots of customers driving down from Haifa and its suburbs.” Benedict now has nine restaurants in Israel, plus one in Berlin.
For the occasion of the unveiling of its latest menu, Benedict has printed brand-new menus, which at first glance look identical in Hebrew and English. Both are prefaced with the same prominent English introduction: “Welcome to the magical world of BRINNER: breakfast for dinner.”
As we perused the extensive menu, we sipped two new summer drinks from the restaurant’s list of eight specialty cocktails (NIS 32): the Pimm’s Cocktail and the Pink Margarita. Both were fruity and refreshing, the former mixing tequila with strawberry and guava, while the latter was chock full of chunks of fruit and raisins.
The voluminous food menu comprises 10 sections: Starters (NIS 12 to 45), Breakfast in Bread (NIS 53 to 59), Morning Greens (NIS 46 to 56), Classics (NIS 62 to 69), Grill & Eggs (NIS 72 to 119), Eggs Benedict (NIS 69 to 86), Benedict Pancakes (NIS 26 to 43), Israeli Breakfast (NIS 62 to 82), Shakshuka (NIS 61 to 70), and Sweet Morning (NIS 12 to 39). In addition, there is a Vegan Breakfast (NIS 56), a Smiley Breakfast, for children (NIS 39); and a Late Night Breakfast, served from 11 p.m. (NIS 49).
The Starters, characterized on the Brinner menu as From Benedict’s Deli, include several new dishes. The one most highly recommended by the manager was the Jalapeno Poppers: halves of green peppers stuffed with cheddar and cream cheese and wrapped in bacon (you might be able to request lamb bacon). The mildly spicy peppers filled with rich cheese and topped with strips of succulent meat were practically addictive, leaving a pleasant tingle of heat in the mouth.
The Caesar Cauliflower is another worthy new appetizer: the florets of gently fried cauliflower drizzled with Caesar dressing, sprinkled with herbs and dusted with grated Parmesan cheese were absolutely delicious.
Most breakfasts in the other menu categories come with Benedict’s famous unlimited basket of bread: three different kinds of warm rolls, plus a sweeter brioche, served with butter, Nutella and the restaurant’s homemade apple-cinnamon jam. Ask for the bread basket to be served with your appetizers, or order it as a starter in its own right.
From the Classics section -- breakfast dishes from around the world, plus Benedict’s unique Eggs Balls -- we ordered a Brinner original, the Breakfast Burrito: scrambled egg, Gouda cheese and corned beef wrapped in a flour tortilla, accented with a touch of sriracha lime sauce. There is actually another Classic dish that is more authentically Mexican -- the chilaquiles -- but the burrito was truly hearty and satisfying.
The side dish that is served with the burrito -- corn bechamel -- is a creamy delight that complements the main event perfectly. This Brinner innovation can also be ordered separately as a starter.
My vegetarian companion, meanwhile, ordered the Avocado Bagel from the Breakfast in Bread section of three sandwiches: two bagel halves -- one smothered in coarsely chopped avocado seasoned with mayonnaise, sea salt and cilantro, and the other with a generous serving of scrambled egg and Gouda cheese. The bagel we chose was the pumpernickel, subtly flavored with anise, which is excellent even eaten plain.
Finally, for dessert, we each had an order of Benedict’s fluffy pancakes -- one stack with blueberries, and the other available only at the Bitan Aharon restaurant, where Chef Adam came up with the great idea of topping the pancakes with whipped malabi, rosewater and toasted pistachio nuts.
The imported blueberries summoned pleasant memories of summers in Michigan, especially when accompanied by a saucer of sour cream, while the chiffony malabi turned out to be an ideal sweetener for the light yet substantial pancakes. 
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
Havatzelet Interchange, Bitan Aharon
(09) 880-2353