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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As for the hot dishes, they had:
– Kebbe Arnabiyye
– 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.
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.
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.