“Why are you eating worms?” asked my colleague at Liverpool University Library where we both worked, over 50 years ago. I was tucking into some anchovies and bread that I’d brought in for my lunch break.
I was reminded of that incident at the Dan Tel Aviv breakfast we enjoyed recently, where we ate, among other things, anchovies, which, to the untrained eye, might just look like worms (pronounced ‘we’erms’ in best Scouse).
Together with my faithful companion, we journeyed over to Tel Aviv to partake of the new menu offered at the Dan Tel Aviv, a historic hotel in its own right.
The historic and culinary delights of Dan Tel Aviv
With Tel-Aviv boasting countless luxury hotels, the Dan Tel Aviv stands out, a grand old lady and the first to be built, more than 70 years ago.
The first item on the agenda was to get a good cup of coffee and this arrived exactly as ordered: a cappuccino, hot and strong, with not too much foam.
If good coffee comes, can good food be far behind? Soon our table was laden with appetizing dips and starters, so basically, we just dived in.
The aforementioned anchovies came with butter and tomato seeds and were quite a delicacy, eaten with fresh whole wheat bread.
The piece of grilled eggplant with crumbly goat cheese and crème fraiche was less successful. Swimming in oil, I felt it was undercooked but one of the chefs, Eliran Ishrai, who came by to say hello, thought it was just right. We agreed to differ.
The third starter was an old standby, humus with tehina. This was beautifully presented with some crumbled feta and sage leaves.
There was also a plate of five seasonings: olives, butter, onion confit, green pepper in oil and a nondescript tomato sauce for which I never discovered its raison-d’etre.
While we waited for our main courses, we were able to study what was going on outside. The dining room looks out to the sea where yachts bob up and down in the distance. Joggers, walkers, and mothers pushing buggies can be seen along the palm-filled promenade. It is truly a delightful view of Tel Aviv at its best.
For my main course, I chose Eggs Benedict. In its authentic version, it’s a poached egg on pink non-kosher unmentionables, but using Jewish ingenuity, a kosher variety of the dish is also available with salmon instead of the other stuff.
Sometimes it’s smoked salmon, this was fresh salmon spread on a slice of toasted brioche bread, served on a sauce of sour cream with spinach. It made for a very filling dish and the egg was perfectly cooked.
My companion, who is rather more conservative than I, chose scrambled eggs topped with chives. The eggs were fluffy, testifying to the fact that milk had been added before cooking. At home, I am not allowed to do that, as he likes unadulterated eggs.
The accompanying salad was fresh and adorned with pieces of watermelon and orange segments. I felt the dressing was a little bland.
Finally, we helped ourselves from the dessert table, eschewing green and pink croissants and picking instead two different kinds of cheesecake, one the baked kind and one the refrigerator kind. Both were very good. You can’t go wrong with cheesecake.
We left the Dan Tel Aviv having enjoyed our sumptuous breakfast. The head waiter, Andre (from Ukraine), was charming and helpful, as were all the staff. It was definitely an experience worth repeating.
Café 99,Dan Tel Aviv Hotel,HaYarkon Street 99,Tel-Aviv.03-520-2492Sunday-Friday, 8 a.m.–11:30 a.m.Monday-Thursday, 1 p.m.-11 p.mNIS 140
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.