Blueberry pancakes the size of a plate with lots of Amish butter and bacon at Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, lox and bagel at Barney Greengrass in New York, jamon serrano on a crusty roll at a bar in Spain, they all make for a delicious breakfast. But then, on another level are the breakfast buffets at top hotels – the lavish spreads with a highlight of cheeses and cold cuts at the Adlon in Berlin, all matter of herrings and other fishes at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Asian and European buffet at the Peninsula in Bangkok, and now there’s a new and very different edition to the list worthy of Fabulous Friday—breakfast at Maison Dedine, a five room Small Luxury Hotel of the World in Tunis. This make you hungry for a good breakfast in Miami? Read on to the end for a two part series on where to go here.
First the setting:A living room with an eclectic design with elements of French art deco, exquisite ebony Tunisian chests inlaid with mother of pearl , and whimsical contemporary sculptures by exceptional local design talents from a collective called Crapaud. In the center, a luxe crystal chandelier.To the side is another area with a long mahogany table used for breakfast where we were always the only ones.
We felt as it was our own beach house. All around were objets as in a concept store: luxury candles, Taschen books, a stylish martini bar, and small, discreet vases with fresh flowers. The floor to ceiling windows and doors framed a picture postcard view of the jewel tones of the Bay of Tunis which the hotel abuts.
A waiter stood removed from us, but ready at any moment when we indicated we were ready for our coffee or any other request. Custom made plates were a contemporary take on the abstract patterns of the handsome ceramics of Tunisia, with the white and royal blue official colors of Sidi Bou Said.
The food at Maison Dedine: Everything of the finest quality, artisanal products, locally made, and they oozed healthy. Honey you say? How about a choice of eucalyptus, orange or thyme varieties, each in a large jar, not the small portion control sizes you get most often. Olive oil? Tunisian extra virgin oil, a choice of ones infused with garlic, red pepper, basil, and lemon citron Salt and pepper? How about truffle salt or a shiny gold colored variety called sel doree.
Fruit salad was local strawberries, kiwi and melon in season.Mr. W especially liked the B’sissa, a Berber dish made of roasted wheat, legumes (chickpeas, lentils and others) and spices, using it to butter his crusty baguette, alternating with fine French butter.
Besides the requisite scrambled eggs, sausage, cold cuts and cheese plate, there were tasty local specialties such as a finely chopped carrot salad with Tunisian tuna oh so delicately spiced with harissa, and the local version of granola made with puff pastry, honey, dates and dried fruits. Completing the selection were several hot dishes, Tunisian favorites, and a tiered tray of French patisserie. Just when we thought we had our full, the waiter brought a Tunisian specialty, a kind of crepe but tastier, called a ‘M’lawi’ which is eaten with honey or olive oil or both.
Maison Dedine is a jewel in Tunisia, a place I can say after having spent nine days in the country recently, well deserves your consideration for an addition to your holiday plans. And I can’t neglect to mention that breakfast in included in room rate — a handsome room with an outdoor terrace for the very reasonable price of a few hundred dollars a day (depending on the season).
Thinking of traveling this fall? In case you missed it, here’s an earlier post on travel tips including images of Tunisian travel. Click here.
And hungry now for a good spot for breakfast in Miami? Click here for my earlier two part series on where to go here.