Benedict – Breakfast Around the World

Benedict – Breakfast Around the World
"The staple breakfast/ brunch extraordinaire of Tel Aviv, boasts 24/7 breakfast and almost any option you can think of, they have it. Generous portions, good food but pricey. Buzzing breakfast that will nourish the soul and instill patience to the many people who wait for tables over the weekend... "

Apologies for the pictures (and there being fewer than usual) I took a bunch of pictures in a rush, was too hungry and probably with a camera shake with that low blood sugar ;)

Are you the one to usually skip breakfast? Shame on you ;), maybe this place may lead you to reconsider … Indeed, your mom was right: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and with that ingrained, you can thank Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street broker, who after a crazy night out boozing (in 1894, to be precise) was in much need of a hangover cure … He strolled into Waldorf Hotel restaurant, where either inspired by his alcohol-infused evening or in much need of something that would soak up the alcohol, requested a hefty breakie of buttered toast, poached eggs, crispy bacon and Hollandaise sauce. Benedict’s strange concoction caught the attention of the maître d’hôtel, who later reinvented the dish, replacing the toast with an English muffin. Fast-forward, much later down the line, Benedict’s relative opened a restaurant in his honour (in the late 1970’s), serving his dish as well as the egg muffin version – sadly that restaurant closed a few years after opening. However, Benedict still lives on, and his legacy of good ol’ Benedict’s has aided those with their hangover cures or simply satisfied those wanting a hearty breakfast. History just makes passive munching a little more interesting, don’t you think?

The legendary dish can even be found on a breakfast menu, right here in Tel Aviv:

It was a humid day one weekend morning and close to Pesach (Passover), my friends and I met for brunch (which turned out more into lunch). One of my friends had her mom visiting from Canada (we miss you!) and she suggested we all go to Benedict, on Rothschild Blvd. Now, understandably, many places are packed over the weekend, but on this particular day this was a little ridiculous; whether it was because of Pesach drawing near or simply because it was the weekend. The answer was certainly in the first bite…

We were all starving and waited patiently for a table for nearly an hour, now that’s dedication (or desperation!), the whole of Rothschild was packed! Benedict’s are very shrewd, keeping those waiting for tables by serving some icy champagne, at the same time quite thoughtful as they also had a large canister of water.

I can’t believe, after 2 years of being in Israel that I had never been to this breakie gem! Shame on me! It is extremely popular among the olim chadashim and even the Israeli crowd, as they cater for everyone’s tastes, around-the-world-in-80-breakfasts-style. Perfect breakfast compilation of all things one craves for breakfast/brunch from sweet syrupy waffles to the savory outrageous breakfast of steak and eggs- you’ll even find fries! It could be a pregnant woman’s paradise of food! Many late-night revelers can take comfort in knowing that Benedict’s is open 24/7 and have an all-day breakfast, so perfect for soaking up all that crazy amount of alcohol you had and curing that morning hungover or quite simply, sharing a breakfast with your favourite people. Sadly they are not kosher and you will see bacon feature quite a lot on the menu (which is good news for some), they do however consider their vegan pals – the vegan breakfast of chickpea pancakes and various other options keep them happily well-fed too.

So the menu – they have starters, don’t you love it? Breakfast starters … the creamed spinach is a popular one and there’s various other veggie starters to choose from with bacon options (not for me;). Then of course: Eggs, eggs and more eggs – their namesake – Benedict, which is incredibly popular; you can choose from the Royal, shrimp or bacon galore ones – that pretty much leaves me with just the Royal ;) Then more eggs: Egg balls served with a choice of sauces, frittata and even an egg white omelette for those health conscious people. Some healthy kicks of salad (more naughty bacon sides are optional to add) and fruit salad. Then you have the ‘workers meal’ the kind of dish that a Jerry Springer fan may go for, the heart attack-waiting-to-happen-dish, yet extremely popular – Philly cheesesteak. They please their Anglo crowd too, with their full English breakfast, some Mexican-style breakfasts too … Shakshuka? Of course – the original, eggplant and feta or a sausage one to choose from. Pancakes, they have them covered – one for the savory person too or posh crepes, French toast and muesli… Am I missing anything here? ;) Breakfast champagne? Frivolous Cocktails? Why not … either a white night or for having an Absolutely Fabulous morning, ‘daaaarling!’ What? You aren’t familiar with the show?!

The settings are more reminiscent of a 1950’s American diner milkshake-style parlour, but a clean, quaint design that’s not too ‘showy’ with cute light fittings and white walls. The mirrors each have recipes written on them which change regularly. Tasting all the delicious food on offer, you may be inspired to photograph a recipe or 2 and try your hand at it at home. Indoors the ‘L-shape’ diner has the usual seating or sit at the bar, outside is a cute decked area – I have yet to try Benedict’s on a usual weekday, perhaps then one can choose where to sit.

When we finally sat down at a booth, (all 5 of us), we were (understandably) incredibly hungry after waiting for more than an hour! The place was packed and there was not a free table in sight. The music was a bit too loud for our liking as we had to raise our voices just to hear each other, having asked twice for it to be turned down (as it was turned down, and then again turned up). The staff are all running around like headless chickens in the weekend rush, perhaps it just was not their day but one had to wave their hand up in the air to catch a waiter – never mind our own waiter! Our table was laden with dishes and there was not an inch to move, once the rush had cleared and tables were freed we found ourselves still placing empty dishes on the adjacent empty tables to free up some space.

We ordered 2 granolas, an omelette and the blueberry pancakes to share. The dishes were supplemented with a basket of various sorts of delicious, fluffy hot bread buns, salad and fruit salad. Sweet spreads of chocolate Nutella/ halva, apple and cinnamon jam (delicious) and plain ‘ol butter for the breads. Incredibly these dishes were more than enough for all of us. Their cappuccinos were also great. Between the layers of the pancake tower oozed blueberry jamminess, all crowned in a dusting of icing sugar with a side dressing of the maple syrup – it was truly heaven on a plate. The omelette was equally impressive, fluffy and light with a variety of side dips to complement. The granolas were served in deep, generous bowls and had the exact balance of yoghurt to granola ratio, the sweetness of the fruit with the crunch of the granola made the dish ever so moreish… Each spoonful of granola I jazzed up a with the sides of apple and cinnamon jam or the maple syrup or the chocolate dip – it certainly made a fun dish to eat! I could easily picture the girls of Sex & the City in this sort of setting or a group of bachelors with their ‘mucho breakfasts’ after a late night out.

Overall a great breakfast place, but beware of the exceedingly long waiting times for tables (especially on the weekend, they do not take reservations) and they are pricey, however their portions are generous.

I can fully understand now what the hype was all about.

They have several locations to choose from:

Tel Aviv: 29 Rothschild Boulevard (as mentioned) and 171 Ben Yehuda Street

Herzliya: 1 Haetzel Street

Rishon LeZion: 1 Moshe Beker Street

Start your day with one of their breakfasts, especially great for tourists, who can continue exploring the city with happy, satisfied bellies. Benedict’s shares the same philosophy as me, where anytime of the day it’s acceptable to eat breakfast dishes and they even follow that with a boker tov (good morning) greeting regardless of the time of the day and that’s a great way to start (or finish the day), especially when like me, you’re not quite the ‘morning person’ ;)

Here’s some other foods named after people you may not have known about, bless you Nacho!

 

2 comments

  1. Sue thebner says:

    I was told at Benedict hertzliya that the pancake recipes could be found online. I have not been able to find. Can you help?

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