Indigo on the Roof New Menu: Excellent Choices, Exquisite Desserts

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Indigo on the Roof is Le Gray Beirut‘s exclusive restaurant and one of my favorite spots in Beirut. I’ve been there countless times for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and it has always been a pleasant experience. The restaurant is refined and offers delicious food, the staff is (almost) always friendly and professional, the service is great and welcoming and the panoramic views of Beirut are stunning.

A month ago, we were invited to try out Indigo on the Roof’s new menu with the arrival of Le Gray’s new Executive Chef Darren Andow, who has over 20 years of experience in the field and a particular passion for Lebanon (Thank u Google). That night, we basically tasted every single item on the menu in small portions and I was so impressed with the flavors that I went back a week ago for lunch to have a full meal and review properly the items I liked the most.

Seafood Platter

We were 4 people:

We ordered the seafood platter, the duck salad and the Burrata as starters. The seafood platter is rich and fresh, it contains oysters, shrimps, mussels and marinated calamari with a couple of dips. The duck salad and buratta were excellent, the seafood platter was good but I would have preferred ordering the grilled calamari over the marinated one. If you like fish and want to try something different (but less-healthy), go for the sesame crusted oysters.

Duck Salad

Buratta

As for the main dishes, we had the char-grilled veal chop served with portobello mushrooms, vine tomatoes and a Roquefort cream, the new Wagyu beef filet (marble score 7) with a bearnaise sauce and the truffle addict tagliatelle. The Wagyu beef filet was mouthwatering and amazing, just like all their steaks, I loved the veal chop as well and especially the sauce, and the tagliatelle is a great choice if you like truffles.

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Moving on to the desserts, I barely had the chance to taste them properly the first time as I was full from all the appetizers and dishes so I made sure I leave some room for dessert this time. We ordered the lemon grass crème brûlée, the classic lemon tart and the Valrhona chocolate fondant.

Le Gray’s desserts always leave me speechless. In fact, sometimes I pass by Gordon’s Cafe on the ground floor just to have their Pain Perdu. If I had to choose one dessert among the new items, it would be the lemon grass crème brûlée.

chocolate fonddant

lemon

pain perdu

All in all, everything we ordered was perfect from presentation, to freshness and taste, just like you’d expect things to be at a five-star hotel. The portions were sized appropriately, not too big, not too small and we ended up paying around $70 per person without the wine. Indigo on the Roof is not a restaurant I can afford to visit frequently but it’s definitely worth the money you will pay!

For me, it’s an ideal place for a romantic night out, a family/business lunch or dinner or to celebrate a special occasion. Breakfast at Indigo is also highly recommended (try their Eggs-Benedict).

Rating: 4.5/5

Business 3al Lebnené

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oldslchi

In case you’ve been wondering how our national debt got so big, here’s your answer. To make things worse, we’ve become so corrupt that no one cares about completing any project now, they just want to steal the money and accuse others of corruption, or even better, state that they are leading a battle against corruption.

Car Insurance 3al Lebnené

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mtv insurance

Everyone is tagging MTV on this ad but I can’t seem to find it anywhere on their website. It is a hilarious and spot-on ad. The video ends with ” بربكن صلحوا الطرقات الزفت” in an attempt to shed the light on road conditions in Lebanon but I can’t find the full version yet.

I Support Beirut Madinati (Beirut-My City)

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BM2

I could name a thousand reasons why I love Beirut. I love its old streets, its authentic houses and shops, its crowded cafes and pubs, the contrast between old and new, the hidden gems that you find on each corner, the diversity, the traditional food etc …

We all love Beirut but our city deserves better. Beirut needs clean streets, more green spaces, proper sidewalks, better waste management, more affordable housing, organized public transportation and more importantly it needs qualified, competent and non-corrupt people to manage it.

We are all disgusted by the entrenched political class that has been ruling our country and mis-managing our cities for years and we all want municipal councils that interact and listen to citizens, that work with civil groups and use their know-how and that actually present an electoral plan when they run for elections. Unfortunately, the likelihood of an outside list winning in Beirut is almost impossible as they face a coalition of three large political blocks but someone needs to put pressure on the ruling class and this is exactly what Beirut Madinati is doing.

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What is Beirut Madinati?

Beirut Madinati is a volunteer-led campaign that aims at challenging the traditional political leadership and working towards making “Beirut more livable: more affordable, more walkable, more green, more accessible, and, simply, more pleasant”. Their program was developed by experts with years of experiences and it addresses problems of affordability, mobility, waste management, air quality, public spaces, basic services, and municipal governance.

A lot of people will argue at this point that these ideas are impossible to achieve, which is why Beirut Madinati has been organizing a weekly open house, neighborhood gatherings and breakfasts in an attempt to interact with people, discuss their program and stress on two key parts of their electoral campaign: transparency and participation. Speaking of transparency, you can check all their finances on their [website].

What I love about Beirut Madinati so far is that they are pragmatic and transparent in their approach and that they are trying to make a change through the electoral process and not by going for unrealistic demands like toppling the system. It is an opportunity and a commitment to improve our city through the electoral process and I cannot but support it.

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To sum up their program in 10 points:
1- Improve urban mobility through an integrated strategy that makes soft options (i.e. walking, biking) more viable, enhances and organizes shared transportation systems.
2- Improve greenery and public space by incorporating the city’s shared spaces into a network of green passages and spaces.
3- Make housing more affordable for future homeowners and tenants.
4- Implement an integrated solid waste management strategy by providing incentives for businesses and households.
5- Protect and develop Beirut’s built and natural heritage, including its waterfront.
6- Build community spaces and enhance services, in partnership with stakeholders and active NGOs.
7- Integrate social justice, poverty alleviation, and socio-economic development.
8- Integrate principles of environmental sustainability and stewardship across all regulatory and operational interventions of the municipality.
9- Prioritize the health and safety of all city dwellers by recognizing the municipality’s responsibility to monitor, lobby for, and intervene.
10- Improve the organizational structure of the Municipality. [Full Program]

All in all, municipal reform is much needed in Beirut and all of Lebanon and Beirut Madinati has valuable ideas and a solid program that would definitely improve living conditions in the capital. In fact, they are probably the only side that actually presented an electoral program.

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Can Beirut Madinati actually win?

I don’t think that’s the right question to ask here. The fact that there’s an opposing list to the current municipality is already a major win. As long as there are people willing to step-in and participate actively in the political life to take back what is rightfully ours, we need to support them even if change takes years.

Beirut Madinati candidates, which were not yet announced, may not win this year but hopefully they will keep their initiative going for the years to come and be even more prepared in the next municipal elections. Even more, I think they should try to reach out to the winning candidates in the next 6 years and push for their ideas as I’m sure there’s at least one competent municipal member in Beirut.

Until then, let’s help them out by spreading the word and keeping the momentum going.

PS: For those who wish to contribute financially, you can donate [here].

Did Anyone Figure Out Burger King’s Ads?

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bk1

“10452 branches in Keserwan”
“365 new branches”
“451 new branches in Keserwan”
“252 new branches in Matn”

I tried mixing the numbers together, adding/subtracting them, it doesn’t make any sense. Does anyone know what this campaign is about? I’m curious to know now.

They should give away a prize to the person who figures it out because everyone I asked was clueless.

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teaser

Here’s Your Chance To Meet World Football Legends in Lebanon

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figo

World football legends might be coming to Lebanon on September 10 to play a game at the Fouad Chehab Sports Stadium in Jounieh.

The final list of players and details of the event will be announced on May 5th during a press conference by the organizing committee. The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and organized by Arabica sports (part of Arabica Group TV network). The game might be played against stars of the Lebanese Football but that was not decided yet.

I’m sure all football fans, including myself, would love to meet these legends. I will update you with the final lineup as soon as it is announced.

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Speaking of Lebanese Football fans and Football legends, a Lebanese AS Roma fan called Bako Karnib got an exclusive chance to meet his idols at Trigoria. He traveled specifically To Rome to get a sight of the players he admires and, after watching the team draw with Bologna last Monday, spent hours each day outside the training ground to get further mementos of his trip.

PS: Thank you Figo29 for the great news and Fouad for the AS Roma story!

Lebanese Municipal Elections Candidates That Litter

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litter

The municipal elections will probably take place on time in Lebanon this year as promised by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk. A lot of candidates have already started campaigning and some of them began littering as well. Posters are randomly placed on walls, traffic lights, residential buildings, traffic signs and even on your car.

We are in the middle of a garbage crisis, we are trying to push people to reduce waste and recycle and then you find municipal elections candidates polluting their own city’s streets and walls. If I were an Achrafieh resident, I would never vote for this guy or any candidate that doesn’t even bother to keep his city clean.

On another note, there’s an ongoing volunteer-led campaign this year, called “Beirut Madinati”, that looks very promising and aims at electing a municipal council of qualified, politically unaffiliated individuals. I’ve been meaning to write about this initiative but I’m waiting for them to announce the candidates.

The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud

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Burj hammoud via OldBeirut

Bourj Hammoud used to be a huge garden back in the 1920s before thousands of Armenian refugees began arriving in Beirut and settling in refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. What began as a tent camp soon turned into an urban center and later on in the 1950s an independent municipality.

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Burj Hammoud is one of the most densely populated cities in the Middle East and has been neglected for years by the authorities. Fifteen years ago, several houses and shops were torn to build a bridge right across the overcrowded city. As a result, hundreds of households are now living in detrimental conditions under the bridge or right next to it.

The below video by Joanne Nochu is a leader for a 90 minute film on “The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud” and has received support from the Wenner Gren Foundation.

Here’s a brief on the project:

This project established a filmmaking workshop for young adults living in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon. Bourj Hammoud is a diverse, densely populated, working-class suburb of Beirut that is dominated by Armenian social and political institutions. Earlier dissertation research in Bourj Hammoud looked at the ramifications of various urban planning initiatives as well as infrastructures and social service institutions on the formation of sectarian identity. Using videography and photography, the grantee documented how people obtained much-needed services and resources, like education, medical care, electricity and water. The presence of the grantee’s camera elicited great interest among several of interlocutors and enabled unexpected conversations as grantee and interlocutor filmed the urban landscape of Bourj Hammoud together. The engaged anthropology project established a filmmaking workshop with some interlocutors.

The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud from Joanne Nucho on Vimeo.