Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Diz on Pons

I’ve got a mate who loves going out for brunch, but can’t/won’t (wan’t?) eat eggs. As you can imagine, this makes things rather difficult when choosing a meal – not only do most of them feature eggs, but some of them feature eggs twice over: look at eggs benedict, which features two poached ones covered in a sauce of whisked yolks.

Anyway, it didn’t take an ovophobic metrosexual to point out to me all the eggs on a standard brunch menu, but it did bring the limited choices into rather sharp perspective, and I always now think of him when I encounter a particularly sparse café blackboard.

Dizengoff on Ponsonby Road has plenty of eggs, and that’s just the customers sitting out the front (boom!). It has a spectacular reputation when it comes to food, but I went there the other day, and do you know what? Meh.

It’s extremely hard to choose your meal, because everything on the board is so sparsely described. “I’m finding it extremely hard to choose my meal, because everything on the board is so sparsely described”, I said to the girl behind the counter, as I tend to do these days, because if I’m not going to tell them, who will? She smiled and nodded in appreciation, so I asked her “do a lot of people say that?” and she replied “not … verbally”.

It says things like ‘Hummus, $14.50’. And then ‘Labaneh’ with no price next to it. So that’s $14.50 too then? Or free if you can pronounce it? They need little photos like Chinese takeaways have so that you know what you’re getting.

Ha ha, but they do. Order the chicken salad and they’ll show you a picture of it to make sure you know what you’re in for. It comes in the form of a ball of shredded chicken combined with various herbaceous delights; it would totally freak you out if you were expecting bite sized niblets on washed spinach. It’s a bit of a novelty, but it tastes only okay.

Stick with the counter food I’d say. The vego panini (should the singular be panino?) is delish, and there are no surprises when it arrives. But avoid the side salad, which is greens a horribly sweet dressing – the sort of pre-Paul Newman muck that we all used to make when balsamic vinegar was still a novelty and the more of it you could include in your cooking the better.

Long blacks come in a glass, which our Italian dining buddy told us was pretty authentic, but which hurt my fingers when I tried to pick it up.

Anyway, you won’t find anyone who’ll say a bad word about Dizengoff, but I just found the whole thing a bit dated. If anybody can recommend any of the things I didn’t try, please do.