When my pregnant wife declared her strong craving for something sweet, I could not resist it. We jumped the car and drove to Max Brenner on Rothschild Avenue. Just in case you don't know it, Max Brenner is a chain of restaurants in Tel Aviv (and Australia, USA, Japan, Russia and Singapore) specializing in all types of sweets. Just in case you don't know it, pregnant wives (and their husbands) love their chocolate. In fact, we ordered the entire menu. I kid you not. We had one sweet dessert after the other.
Max Brenner's menu concept, as well as restaurant design, is 'back to childhood', with attractions such as Alice shake cups, the top of which is designed as the allusive smile of the Cheshire Cat. Max Brenner's special summer menu includes 3 shakes and 5 desserts, and these are served in all chain's restaurants in Israel.
We started with some shakes: halva shake with raw tahini and white chocolate ice cream; and a Lotus shake with Lotus cookie cream and vanilla ice cream. Both were thick and wonderful.
We continued with almonds ice cream with white chocolate pralines filled with toffee. Of all the dishes we tried, this one probably illustrates Max Brenner' childhood dream best. We are talking about a large ice cream waffle with whipped cream, like they used to make them in ice cream shops when I was a kid. Underneath the whipped cream laid an almond ice cream, waffle scoops, toffee sauce, and white chocolate pralines filled with caramel and 2 crunch fingers – almonds and nougat. Richness of tastes and flavors for grownups, in a childhood-like package.
We then had the Celebration. For people like us, who have trouble deciding what to choose, this is a problem solver – a taste of all of Max Brenner's 3 waffles: banana split with caramelized bananas and fresh whipped cream; nougat chocolate chips with milk and white chocolate crumbs; and waffle with Chinese pecan and milk chocolate ice cream scoop. All this is served with waffle scoops in chocolate cover, a small fruit salad and a shot of chocolate sauce, just in case you need something sweet on the side.
We had to have some carbs, so we ordered the crepe which was filled with caramel lotus cookie cream and cookie crumble, decorated with white chocolate, caramelized sugar and sugar powder, and served with home-made vanilla ice cream, fruit salad and hot chocolate truffle.
Then it was back to chocolate, in its purest form, with a crunchy praline cigar made of pure chocolate. This is probably the perfect dish for bitter taste fans: 2 thick bitter chocolate fingers whipped with almonds, coated with cereal scoops, and served with fruit salad and bitter chocolate sauce. It is a relatively delicate dish, not too sweet, that even vegans can enjoy.
But the cherry on the top was definitely the nostalgic chocolate-coated marshmallow, or in its Israeli version: the Crembo. 3 (not at all industrial as they used to be when we were growing up) types were served: one made of almond ice cream and coated with milk chocolate, the second made of pistachio ice cream and coated with white chocolate, and the third: a milk chocolate truffle with a bitter chocolate coating. The 3 of these were laid on a home-made Oreo cookie and served with whipped cream, fruit salad, hot milk chocolate dip and a small wooden hammer – to break the coating, of course.
"I'm never having chocolate again!" she said just before she fell asleep as we entered the car. I give her a week.