Category Archives: Food

Le Bristol’s Sunday Buffet At Achrafieh’s Splendid Villa Linda Sursock

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Le Bristol‘s Sunday buffet has been known for years as one of the best buffets in Beirut and is recently being held at Villa Linda Sursock in Achrafieh as the hotel is closed down since 2012 for renovation. The only other Sunday buffet I’ve tried in Beirut so far was the Phoenicia hotel one so I was interested to see how different and special this one is.

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To begin with, Villa Linda Sursock is probably the best venue they could have chosen for their famous buffet. The gorgeous villa is located on Sursock Street, a relatively calm street, and is one of Beirut’s historic landmarks. I’ve been there several times for events and I’m in love with that villa! Here’s an old picture showing the villa from outside. In recent years, a skyscraper was built right next to the villa with a small part of the building right on top of it. Even though the skyscraper is really nice, I wish they had kept the house by itself with surrounding gardens.

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Moving on to the buffet, the tables are set in the big hall inside the villa that you can see in the first picture and the food is in a separate room. Once you get in, you are greeted by a hostess then seated by one of the waiters. Afterwards, you’re handed a large alcohol selection and served a small plate of mini Cheese, Kecheck and Zaatar Saj Manakish.

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Once we sat down and chose a wine bottle, we headed to the room where the buffet is. There’s a bit of history in every single spot in that villa and the setting for the buffet is just beautiful around the chimney. A large table is set in the middle with all the hot and cold dishes, while desserts are around it with a large fruit salad bowl right next to the chimney in the middle. There’s also a small table on the far left next to the windows for the cheese lovers and an Entrecote station on the side as well.

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There are 3 or 4 chefs ready to help you and guide you through Bristol’s signature dishes. Almost every dish is a special one and I made sure to have a small portion of each to try them all out. Starting with the cold dishes, I tried the following ones:
– Lentil with salmon salad
– Spring Rolls
– Rocket leaves with fresh mushroom and Parmesan
– Quinoa with guacamole and shrimps
– Artichoke with green beans
– Goat cheese cake with cherry tomatoes

The Lentil with Salmon was surprisingly good, the spring rolls and rocket leaves salad were nothing special but fresh and tasty. The two dishes I loved the most were the Quinoa with shrimps and the goat cheese cake with cherry tomatoes.

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As for the hot dishes, they had:
– Kebbe Arnabiyye
– Siyyadiyye
– Curry Shrimps
– Raviolli with spinach
– Chicken with berries

I hate the Kebbe Arnabiyye so I didn’t bother taste it and I don’t eat Carri so I skipped that as well. The Siyadiyye, Raviolli and Chicken dishes were all really good specially the chicken dish. Their entrecote was really good specially with the steamed veggies and potatoes but the sauce should have been a bit hotter.

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Moving on to my favorite part the dessert, I wish I had started with it as almost everything I tasted was amazing. I loved how they made the Karabij in forms of sticks (easier to dip), the mafrouke was really good, the profiterole, the macarons, the mini cakes, it was the perfect ending to a great buffet.

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All in all, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this buffet to the Phoenicia one as they are totally different. Le Bristol’s buffet is a small cozy one where you get to try out signature dishes and the famous gourmandises du Bristol while Phoenicia’s buffet offers a large variety of dishes, which I prefer from time to time. One thing is for sure, both are great buffets and I recommend you try out both of them, specially that the service is impeccable and the waiters are extremely friendly and helpful.

Price-wise, it’s around 65$ per person without the drinks.

PS: For your reservations, call 03-500622.

Rating: 4.5/5

First Sneak Peek Pictures Of La Crêperie Restaurant Before Its Re-Opening

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creperie -lbci This is how La Creperie will finally look like – via LBCI

One of my favorite restaurants in Jounieh is set to reopen soon as renovation works are almost complete. La Crêperie is one of Lebanon’s most authentic and beautiful restaurants and has been serving great food since 1968. The restaurant is an 18th Century Picturesque Ottoman House that is owned and managed by the Khazen family and has welcomed several celebrities, presidents, ministers and diplomats.

I’ve been going to La Crêperie for the past 15 years and I have a lot of fond memories there. I enjoyed sitting on the small balcony tables and enjoying the splendid view and the food has always been excellent there. I loved their chicken and seafood platters, the raclette during winter and of course the famous crepes and my favorite the crepe maron.

417670_10150615796274985_1728700178_n La Creperie is located on a small hill overlooking the Jounieh bay

The official opening date is not yet set for La Crêperie but I passed by a couple of weeks back and the venue is almost complete and has already hosted a private event so it shouldn’t take too long for it to open to the public. The house didn’t change much from inside as the owners made sure to keep its authenticity but renovated it in a way to make it more spacious. The entrance now looks much nicer with covered parking lots on the right, BBQ is still on the terrace and was renovated as well, the balcony is wider now and the small tables were replaced by comfier tables. The caves weren’t finished yet when I visited but they haven’t changed much. The menu will remain an international one and I was told crepes are still part of it.

Some people were questioning the legality of the renovation works and an article showed up few months ago stating that the municipality ordered the works to be halted but none of that is true according to my sources. The house is not labeled as a heritage one and is a private property (including the rocks), and the only additions done were to support and protect the house and avoid a disaster in case of an earthquake. In all cases, I don’t know much about this matter but what’s for sure is that the buildings that keep popping on that small mountain is what’s ruining the view, not few renovation works, not to mention the arguile places all over the maritime road undernearth La Crêperie.

All in all, I can’t wait to go try out the new Creperie and I will update the post with the opening date as soon as I have it (hopefully very soon). Until then, enjoy these exclusive pictures:

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Boubouffe Opening In Dubai And Abu Dhabi!

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The best Shawarma place in Lebanon is going to the UAE and will open 6 outlets between 2015 and 2017. Boubouffe has signed an agreement with Addmind, the management group behind White, Indie, Iris and Caprice and will start by opening 3 outlets, 2 in Dubai and 1 in Abu Dhabi in third quarter of 2015.

I’ve been going to Boubouffe for more than 10 years now and it’s still the best Shawarma you can have in Lebanon, even though it’s a bit expensive. I prefer the Chicken over the Meat Shawarma and I advise you to try their “Lebanese” burger.

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It’s Time To Recognize The New Lebanon: The King is Dead; Long Live The King

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That’s how Victoria Moore, The Telegraph’s wine correspondent, ended her article on Lebanon’s wine industry, on the end of an era with Serge Hochar’s tragic death and how Lebanese wine is booming abroad. She spoke about the obstacles that wine makers are facing recently in Lebanon, and how she was impressed by the energy and commitment of the new generation of producers that managed to double the quantity of Lebanese wine abroad in five years.

Lebanon moved from 12 wineries in 2004 to 40 commercial wineries by 2012 making eight million bottles of wine a year and exporting wine worth $14.5 million. Some of the wineries mentioned in Moore’s article include Domaine des Tourelles, Ixsir, Chateau Musar and Château St Thomas.

Lebanese wine is great and definitely worth trying. I will post shortly a list of my ten favorite Lebanese wine bottles.

You can check the full article [Here].

Nutella’s Controversial Billboard

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nutella - Copy Picture via Rania el Khatib

People are apparently upset with the above Nutella billboard because it shows Christian names with the English version and Muslim names (Except for Sarah which is not Muslim) with the Arabic one. I don’t know if all the billboards are like this one but I agree that the way the names were depicted in this one is wrong, even if it wasn’t done intentionally. I wouldn’t make a big fuss out of it though but whomever did this should have been more careful.

It is worth noting that it’s common in Lebanon to have billboards in Arabic for areas like Tripoli and the same billboards in French and English in areas like Jounieh and Beirut.

Update: Here are all the Nutella billboards I found on my way to work today. I couldn’t find the one posted by Rania (shown above) and as expected, there are many versions in both Arabic and English. I am checking now to see where that billboard was spotted.

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Why Is Joumblatt Undermining Minister Bou Faour’s Campaign?

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Walid Joumblatt is saying that a restaurant pressured TVs and medias not to mention its name but LBCI stated that even Minister Bou Faour didn’t mention the restaurant’s name so what’s the story? Why would Joumblatt tweet such a thing and not even mention the restaurant’s name? What is he trying to say? That Bou Faour is favoriting restaurants over others?

I honestly don’t think that’s the case but minister Bou Faour should answer Joumblatt (on Twitter?) and clarify this matter.

As far as Balthus is concerned, this is one of the finest French restaurants in town and I highly doubt that it’s violating any food safety regulations. If this is really the case, and as stated in previous occasions, the minister should clearly state how Balthus is غير مطابق as this could mean a zillion things.

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In all cases, I don’t think violating restaurants are a primary concern at the moment specially when most of the slaughterhouses and food storages are violating.

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Galette Des Rois, Zlebyé, Armenian Christmas And A Tradition To Waste Electricity

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The majority of Christians in Lebanon and around the world celebrate Epiphany tonight and the tradition is to eat the Galette des Rois and some zlebyé. The traditional Galette is filled with frangipane, an almond-based filling, and a slice is given to each person sitting on the table. The one who gets the lucky charm (la fève) hidden in the galette gets to wear the king or the queen’s crown. This year I got a galette from Cannelle and another from Kay (Stop & Shop) and the one from Kay was much better.

While the galette is a French tradition, the zlebyé is made in Lebanon during epiphany every year and is basically a fried dough with sugar and cinnamon. It’s really good and the best way to have it is when it’s still hot. Aside from the food traditions, a lot of families keep their balconies lit up tonight as the day marks principally the visit of the Magi (Three wise men) to the Christ child. I don’t mind the tradition but I wish we could replace it with candles as we need to save electricity in this country.

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On another note, the majority of Armenians in Lebanon celebrate today Christmas so Merry Christmas to all my Armenian friends!

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What To Expect When You Order A Pizza Pepperoni With Ham At A Cedars Restaurant?

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This story took place on the first day of the year and was shared by LebaneseMemes. A group of 11 people visited a restaurant in the Cedars on January 1 and ordered a pizza pepperoni with ham among other things. That’s what they got apparently lol! Here’s what the chef said to explain it: “I didn’t incorporate the Ham in the pizza because I was worried the waiter would make a mistake and serve it to someone else”.

The restaurant staff probably hadn’t recovered yet from New Year’s Eve but that’s still hilarious! The pizza looks good by the way.