A Unique Friday Brunch Overlooking the Jerusalem Forest

Much as I love having brunch in a nice café or hotel, Friday brunch at Atalya in Ein Kerem takes things to a whole new level.

Atalya Ein Mor hosts her unique Friday brunch from her family home, high up on the hills of Ein Kerem, with breathtaking views of the Judean Hills, the Beit Zayit reservoir and quaint village of Ein Kerem.

As we entered her home, the smell of fresh baking beckoned us inside.  Our visit started with a glass of warm sangria and fresh cheese puffs, which had just come out of the oven and provided a teaser to all the wonderful treats that would follow.  The group of 20 all went up on the roof where the views were even more spectacular and gave Atalya a chance to introduce herself to newcomers and greet returning customers.

Upon sitting down at the large table in the dining room, which overlooks the Jerusalem forest, we were each presented with a freshly baked flaky savory pastry, made with za’atar, olives and goat cheese to start the meal.

The buffet table was laid beautifully with a basket of fresh bread, two types of shakshuka, sweet potato and pecan quiche, and a variety of cheeses, dips and salads. Everything tasted delicious but the cucumber and sesame salad and the roasted kohlrabi salad were the most unique dishes for me.

During the meal, were also surprised by additional freshly baked treats straight out of the oven. First came the olive oil and rosemary focaccia, followed by wild sorrel and mallow (hubeza) quiche. The sorrel and mallow were both foraged locally in Ein Kerem.

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קיש חוביזה Mallow quiche #atalyaeinkarem

A post shared by Atalya (@atalya_ein_karem) on

It was hard to resist trying all of the desserts on offer. Homemade halva and chocolate and silan squares melted in the mouth. The lemon drizzle cake was moist and the right balance of sharp and sweet. Both the chocolate babka and chocolate fudge cake were wonderfully tasty but for me, the cinnamon babka was the winner, with a perfect balance of crunchy pastry and spicy cinnamon flavor.

Brunch at Atalya is a culinary experience, rather than a just a meal. The brunch costs NIS 165 per person and gets booked up months in advance, for more information click here. Atalya’s catering is not kosher but the brunch is dairy only. Atalya also offers private meals and workshops in her home and culinary tours of Ein Kerem, the Old City, Mea Shearim and Machane Yehudah Shuk.

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