You can’t do everything in life but you sure can lunch with style and aplomb in Montefiore Hotel downtown Tel Aviv. It’s housed in a 1920s ‘Eclectic’ style building and was the city’s first boutique hotel when it opened in 2008. A peachy presence peeking through the street fernery of Lev Ha’ir (“Heart of the City District”) gives way indoors to a monochromatic jazzy look. Architect Moshe Lovrinzki designed the original house; architect Gad Halperin restored it in 2000. Eight years later, then husband and wife team Mati and Ruti Broudo opened the 12 bedroom hotel and accompanying street level restaurant. Mati recently told The Times of Israel, “Out of all the cities I have lived in – New York, London, Paris and Rome – Tel Aviv is the most diverse and interesting walking city. It’s probably my favourite city in the world.” We almost agree. It’s our joint favourite as we’re equally loving the oldest and the newest cities in the Holy Land.
The Montefiore Cocktails list is optimistically titled “Spring is Here I Hear”. It includes two non alcoholic beverages and eight signature drinks: Champagne Cocktail, Hôtel le Grand, Madame Rouge, Mai Tai, Oh Fashioned, Puebla, Put It On the Spritz and Tokyo Club. The wine list is extensive with a good Israeli representation including Ayalon Valley, Eliad, Neve Yarak, Noble, Shoresh and Yatir Forest. We opt for a Noble Flam 2013 with its big attitude big flavour. The wine list is in five sections. White: one Georgian, one Portuguese, two Austrian, two German, two Spanish, five Greek, five Italian, 36 French and 19 Israeli. Red: one Portuguese, four Austrian, eight Spanish, 27 Italian, 34 French and 41 Israeli. Rosé: one Italian, four French and two Israeli. Amber and Skin Contact: one Italian, two Georgian and three Israeli. Sparkling: 23 French, one Austrian and one Georgian.
The food is international with a nod to France and a hint of Malaysia. Starter is endive, stilton, red pear, caramelised onions. Main course is Jerusalem artichoke, poached egg, pistachio. Our waiter nails it with, “Do you fancy apricot and almond tart with whipped crème fraîche on the terrace?” The bill comes with tipping suggestions: 12 percent basic service, 15 percent good service, 18 percent very good service and 20 percent excellent service. Maybe it’s the sun or the Madame Rouge (Hendrick’s Lunar, St Germaine, liqueur de violettes, lavender, creole bitter) or simply excellent service but we’re feeling generous. There’s a season for everything, even if it can’t all be done, and this is a time to love.