Dizengoff or Dizi’s as it’s affectionately known, is and always has been, a place to be seen. TV personalities, D list celebs and the odd Lord of the Rings face mingle with us plebs. Fortunately, they also do good coffee and a fine breakfast. This Ponsonby cafe has been churning out Jewish-ish food for years, think chopped liver, bagels and salmon, so if you’re hanging out for some streaky bacon, this aint the place to come. The decor of this institution is plain- simple white walls, wooden floors and tables which are never empty (there are more upstairs if the bottom is full).
The seven of us tear in for brunch on a Sunday and manage to nab a table downstairs after the in-laws graciously give up their usual haunt upstairs to Lorde and her posse. The menu at Dizengoff has always had me panicked. It’s a white board at the back of the cafe which perfunctorily lists what’s on offer. Chopped liver. Israel Plate. Mushrooms. Jewish chicken salad. Sounds easy enough but what does the chopped liver come with? Is it just chopped liver on a plate? Do you get bread? Is there perhaps some pickled somethings to accompany it? You get my drift? So when we are presented with individual, comprehensive menus after we sit down, I am in clover. Apparently, after years of diners asking question after question about the succinct menu, they’ve decided to do something about it.
The piccolos (Allpress beans) are superb- creamy and strong. I peruse the menu out of interest but I’m really only here for one thing. The mushrooms. I decide the 1/2 and 1/2 will satisfy, mushrooms with scrambled eggs on sourdough and a dollop of pesto. TBS having always been a salmon bagel kinda man decides the salmon eggs is worth a go.
The mushies at Dizengoff are legendary. They’re creamy and tangy and don’t leave you feeling sick with gluttony after you’ve polished off the lot. It’s been five years, but they don’t disappoint. The mellowed tartness of the balsamic balances the richness of the funghi as well as the luxuriously silky scrambled eggs. The parsley pesto adds a distinct earthiness to the dish. I wolf down the lot.
The salmon eggs are served in a similar way, on thinly sliced sourdough and accompanied by pesto. Finely flaked hot smoked salmon has been folded through the eggs and again the scramble is light but luscious with what is no doubt a tonne of butter.
Service at Dizengoff is slightly aloof in a hipster kind of way and it can be hard to get a table but the consistently good food and great coffee trumps these minor quibbles. An institution, and rightly so.
Good to know:
Salmon eggs $15.50
1/2 and 1/2 $15.50
256 Ponsonby Road
Telephone +64 9 3600 108
Monday to Friday 6:30am to 5:00pm
Saturday to Sunday 7:00am to 5:00pm
Images: Thomas Southam