Benedict polarises people in Tel Aviv. Some people love it, rave about; others say it’s overrated and overpriced. And at 62 NIS for a breakfast, you can understand why; you really have to pull off something special to justify a price like that.
The Benedict concept is rather fun. It serves breakfasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A huge variety of breakfasts from around the world, ranging from Israeli to British; American to Mexican; various other influences also. There are now three branches, one further North in Tel Aviv on Ben Yehuda St, the other in Hertzliya. But Rothschild is the original. Note, they don’t take reservations on weekends and holidays and the queues are lengthy.
The situation in Israel has been rather stressful of late and when a friend and I met for dinner to try and take our mind off things, we walked past Benedict, and decided that despite the high prices we would spoil ourselves a bit. So, an Israeli breakfast at Benedict it would be. There were two options on the menu: classic or ‘light’. Of course, I took the classic.
The service was prompt and helpful and the ambiance very pleasant. The breakfast arrived very quickly, and I tucked in. The dips were all very yummy, but fewer in number than normal. They were interesting, though. A tangy, smooth feta mixed with tomato; cream cheese mixed with chives for a bit of extra flavour; an extremely good tuna mayonnaise salad (maybe the best I have had) and a reddish Tehina (described as Tehina Sumak, but I couldn’t really find out what it was) which had an unusual and pleasant flavour. The sweet tooth was catered for by a apple and cinnamon jam, which was good, although I prefer it with fruit bits inside; and Nutella. And you can’t go wrong with Nutella.
The bread basket was plentiful, offering white and wholemeal rolls together with small brioche. The bread was good, tasty, but not (apart from the brioche) particularly exciting. The eggs were very good, and not overdone, they also came with free mixed herbs (and even onion, had a wanted). And unlike most places, where you get two eggs, Benedict serves you three. You can argue about the health benefits, but it certainly adds a lot to your plate!
Instead of a standard Israeli salad, we were given tabbouleh, a middle eastern salad that in this case was served with couscous, vegetables and various herbs. It was very tasty, fresh, and more filling than a regular Israeli salad. Also nice to have things changed up a little. But part of me did long for me chopped vegetables, which I normally find more refreshing.
With regard drinks, I was not excited by the juices on offer (although I’m sure the fresh orange juice would be good) but we were not restricted to these and I took a fizzy drink off the menu. The hot chocolate, although not specified as available on the menu, also was included at no extra charge and was most yummy.
I find it tricky to reach a conclusion on Benedict. The food was good, fresh and delivered promptly. There were some interesting innovations. But then, there is that massive price tag, and I just don’t think it warrants it.
However, there is a little trick. We both joined the Benedict club. For 75NIS you get a free breakfast on your next trip, free dessert on your current trip (not that we were hungry, but still they were very nice), ‘treats’ on your anniversary and birthday. You also get a card, and 10% of all your spending gets added onto this card and can be redeemed at a later date against another breakfast. So, it ties you in a little Benedict, but if you’re willing to keep going back for your breakfast needs, then 10% of 62 NIS takes you to the still expensive, but much more reasonable, 56NIS.
So, Benedict gets an Honourable Mention, partly for the volume of very tasty food, partly for its service, and probably partly for it’s reputation. But it’s still too expensive to go into the Favourites.