I love the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut. It’s definitely one of my favorite hotels in the capital. It seems that I always keep coming back for their amazing breakfast, but sometimes, I just pass by to have their delicious hot chocolate and smoothies in the hotel lounge as I wait for traffic to ease out of Beirut. The true gem for me though, is their Sunday Buffet Lunch.
I’ve had the buffet lunch on Sunday with the family there twice already, and before writing this post I called to book for our third one. It’s one of those buffets that you never get tired of. Apart from the wide and generous selection, their new open kitchen concept has only enhanced the dining experience there. I guess that’s why this is the third, and definitely not the last time we go there for lunch since last December.
The Open Kitchen Concept:
The buffet is served at The Grill Room, a spacious venue with plenty of views of Beirut, the Saint Georges Yacht Club, and the Mediterranean Sea and Lebanese coast. It also has a large outdoor terrace for when the weather is sunny and beautiful, with a fully equipped bar inside and plenty of distance between each table, giving you your own space even when the place is fully booked.
The open kitchen concept was introduced before Christmas, last December. It allows you to wander into the executive kitchen and watch first-hand how your food is being prepared. You can even select specific ingredients to further customize your order yourself. Guests can also ask the chefs inside to prepare something for them on-the-spot, or if you’re not too picky, choose one of the dishes on display inside the executive kitchen.
The buffet starts off with a selection of hot dishes and platters, followed by fresh produce and salad bowls with hand-picked and locally-sourced ingredients and add-ons. On the opposite side, you can find the charcuterie station that includes freshly sliced Jamon and Saint Daniel.
Further down the buffet is the large fish and seafood counter. It includes sushi, sashimi, maki, oysters, lobsters, salmon and tuna tartars served in jars. All the items are fresh, and you can see the chefs roll the maki in front of you, and lobsters still alive before they’re prepared.
Next comes the oven, where you can place an order for mini-manakish and take them the second they’re out of the oven. The last counter in this segment of the buffet is the kid-friendly one, with marshmallows, M&Ms and almost every kind of candy you can think of. It’s not just sweets that have kids in mind though, with mini burgers, mac & cheese and chicken nuggets also on display in the buffet.
As you make your way out of the executive kitchen, you enter the dessert room. A breath-taking display of cakes, tarts, macarons, cheesecakes and an ice cream station will satisfy any sweet-tooth type. I should warn you though, Four Seasons Beirut are known for their signature dessert items, so no matter how good the rest of the buffet might seem, make sure you leave enough room to sample the desserts.
Past the dessert room, you walk back into The Grill Room. The rest of the buffet is displayed here, with a massive cheese assortment and the add-ons that go along with it. After that, is the hot bread station on the right side, and on the other one every type of mezza dish you can think of, with the classics like hummus and mtabbal, as well as fusion dishes of your favorite mezza delicacies.
If you thought that was it, think again. Once you step outside, there’s a chicken shawarma station on the outdoor terrace. Right next to it is a mouth-watering steak station, complete with grilled potatoes stuffed with sour cream and an assortment of other grilled ingredients.
We are talking about the Four Seasons here, so standards are sky high from the get-go. Everything is super clean and shining, from the plates and tables, to the kitchen and different buffet stations. In terms of cleanliness and presentation, everything is impeccable, even with the high turnout of both hotel guests and diners here for the Sunday Buffet.
When it comes to service, I am fairly certain I’ve never experienced a better one than at the Four Seasons. The entire staff is extremely polite and courteous. They’re always around and ready to tend to your needs and regularly pass by to check up on you and your table to make sure everything is going smoothly. One incident caught me by surprise a few months back, which was very pleasant. The moment I walked in, someone from the FS staff greeted me by name, which caught me off-guard since it had been quite a while since I’ve been to The Grill Room, and I didn’t immediately remember meeting the person at first. Goes to show you how much attention and dedication they put in to knowing their customers, even ones like me who don’t go there on a regular basis. Oh, and the booking wasn’t even under my name, so I was sure it wasn’t because of the reservation name.
In terms of comfort, I love The Grill Room because every table has more than enough space around it, so you don’t feel crowded by the surrounding tables. You can choose from somewhat secluded, chilled-out lounges, or larger round tables for big groups and family gatherings. If you’re a smoker or enjoy basking in some sun and fresh air, you can opt to sit on the outdoor terrace as well (which is smarter cause that’s where the fantastic meat is grilled!)
Value for Money:
The buffet lunch is served from 1:00PM till 4:00PM on Sundays every week. The price person is 68 USD including water, coffee and soft drinks. Children younger than 5 years old eat for free, and children from the ages of 5 till 12 pay half price.
It might seem a bit steep, but if you consider the variety and quality, as well as the impeccable service and experience, it’s well worth every penny. Alcohol is not included in the flat rate, but if you drink moderately, your damage should even out at 75USD per person. It is definitely a good place to invite your family and friends that is sure to impress and will never disappoint.
The Four Seasons Lunch Buffet is the one buffet I’d honestly recommend to anyone looking for a memorable experience, in a nice setting and some of the best, mouth-watering food in town. The open kitchen experience might take a few minutes to get used to, but if the long walk full of amazing food back to your table becomes a hassle, be sure to ask your server and they’ll have it ready and on your table in no time. I’d recommend this buffet to anyone, so much so that I’m gonna be there with the family again this Sunday!