Going for broke

Breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is an expensive but exquisite experience

Breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is an expensive but exquisite experience. (photo credit: PR)
Breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is an expensive but exquisite experience.
(photo credit: PR)
It’s a philosophical question of sorts: How much would you be willing to spend for the perfect buffet breakfast? Even with the greatest spread in the world, there’s only so much you can eat, so it seems that the criteria have to be quality and atmosphere.
There are plenty of Jerusalem eateries that offer sumptuous breakfast spreads with unlimited refills for a set price. But the new Waldorf Astoria breakfast sets a new gold standard for the morning repast. Until recently only available to the fortunate (and prosperous) guests of the latest entry into the Jerusalem luxury hotel market, the elegant dining room is now open to the public from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday through Friday.
For the hefty price of NIS 144 per person, diners can be pampered with five-star service, a dazzling array of delicacies and a setting of fine china and heavy cloth napkins and tablecloths fit for a king and queen.
Like Pulp Fiction ’s Vincent Vega sampling Mia’s $5 milkshake to see what warrants the price and finding it a “pretty **** good milkshake,” the same can be said for a NIS 144 breakfast.
First of all, there are the glass pitchers of freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. The exquisite tartness practically jumped out of the glass and exposed how bogus most of the run-of-the mill, watered-down juice selections are at hotel buffets.
As well as featuring the expected wide selection of chopped vegetable salads in all their Israeli gloriousness, the fresh salad table included cute individual offerings of delicate avocado and eggplant dishes.
They were piquant and refreshing.
My eyes bugged out at the smoked fish table, featuring not one but three different types of smoked salmon, all kinds of tuna, mackerel and herring. I could have stayed there for the entire meal.
But the cheese table was just as extensive, offering fresh chunks of Gouda, Manchego, Camembert, Brie and goat’s cheese with red wine, among others.
The fresh fruit table was equally plentiful, with the freshly cut pineapple being the standout.
And, of course, there was a huge choice of breads and rolls, with many multi-grain offerings.
For those with superhuman willpower, there was no skimping on selections of healthy cereals, yogurts, dried fruits and granola.
In addition to the long row of chafing dishes containing tantalizing quiches, burekas, scalloped potatoes, zucchini stuffed with cottage cheese, scrambled eggs and shakshouka, there is an option of having a made-to-order delicacy from the kitchen. Choices include a three- egg omelette (white egg options available) with a choice of smoked salmon, bell pepper, mushroom, onions, apricot or cherry jam, spinach, Parmesan, mozzarella or pecorino; two eggs any style on toast or English muffin; eggs Benedict in Hollandaise sauce on an English muffin with a choice of smoked salmon, spinach or Florentine style; waffles, pancakes or French toast with a choice of toppings; fresh shakshouka – spicy tomato, spinach and feta or eggplant. It can be tiring just considering the options.
Being eminently compatible, my wife and I both chose the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. It was a piece of art.
Despite the English muffin’s not really resembling those Thomas nook and cranny types from the old country, the dish was a sublime blend of rich and smoky flavors.
The only area that the buffet offerings didn’t perhaps live up to the expected level of excellence was the dessert selection. Rather than warm and soft pastries with a creative flair, the table was laden with quite ordinary danishes, cakes and mini-muffins. Usually, no matter how stuffed I am, I can’t resist dessert, but this time I could.
Was it worth NIS 144? I don’t know. But if breakfast is as important a meal to you as dinner, and if you’d be willing to spend that amount per person for a romantic anniversary meal or a special family event, then why not take advantage of the morning hours? At least you won’t have to eat again for the rest of the day