There is no better business than opening up a restaurant or a snack in Lebanon, however the latest trend is to come up with a very fancy place that attracts customers but serves crappy or average food.
One of them is the recently newly opened Chinese restaurant called the Jasmine Room. It is situated on the Jal el Dib highway and looks very fancy from the outside. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while and finally went there with my gf on Saturday.
Unlike what is stated in this review, it does look a lot like every other Chinese restaurant and resembles a bit ChopSticks! It even has that large rounded table in the middle that rotates so that you can hold like your small buffet.
We were out on a Saturday night and found a table without reservation. The chairs were comfy and the tables were not too close to each others. While checking out the menu, i noticed on the first page set menus for 4, 5 and 6 people. They varied from 200,00LL till 400,000LL or something like that. I don’t know much about food menus but putting such big numbers on the first page of your menu can push customers away.
The menu list was very similar to every other Chinese restaurant, same appetizers (Shrimp dumblings, Spring Rolls etc ..) and hot dishes.
We ordered the following:
– Vegetable Spring Rolls
– A steamed rice bowl with corn (It didnt come with corn but the waitress said she can add corn to it).
– A sweet and sour chicken platter without the green peppers and onions that come with it.
– Noodles with beef platter.
Few minutes later, the spring rolls came and they were not good at all and small as well. The hot dishes then followed and with them came major dissapointment.
– Steamed rice came without corn. They were unable to drop few pieces of corn into the bowl. It is very demanding indeed.
– Sweet and Sour chicken came with the green pepper and onions. The waitress realized the matter as soon as she got to the table, so she apologized, went back to the kitchen, took out the onions and green pepper and came back with it. How did i know that? Simply because the chicken and the sauce smelled like onions and peppers still, but i did not tell her anything.
– The noodles platter my gf ordered was disgusting. Noodles were not well done and they had onions all over them. We asked them to take it back and we ended up not paying for it.
That was pretty much my experience at the Jasmine Room and i am quite sure will be my last one. I thought for a while that ChopSticks is no longer that good, but it is great compared to this one.
this article is nice…
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the best Chinese places in Lebanon are the unknown small restaurants. Chopsticks is probably the worst and its continuing success is confusing
I tried emailing you but your email is invalid?
I usually agree with your restaurant critiques (Taxi Diner is just one among many), but I must say that I can’t agree on this one. I’ve went to the place about 3 times and it was a pleasant experience at all occasions. I thought the food was very good (no exageration)..if there is a next time, you should try the fried calamari with salt and chili (appetizer), pad thai, vegetables with green curry (ask them to add chicken or shrimps), beef with mushrooms…
And I don’t think that any Chinese restaurant can be worse than Chopsticks..in any case, it’s all a question of taste.
It is the Pad Thai that we ordered, i had just forgot the name until you reminded me and it was full of onions and the noodles not well cooked.
If you notice, it is the service that was really bad more than anything else, but the food was very average too.
I totally agree on that with Nagib!
The 1st time I went, it was truly below my expectations but then decided to give it another try n boy how I regreted it later!
It was heavy and tasteless! As I was the only one drinking I ordered for a glass of white wine n I got served the most disgusting wine ever. If I wanted something better I should order for a whole bottle. I ended up drinking a heineken, a much safer choice!
Defintely not to be repeated again!
I read your review on The Jasmine Room and would like to comment on a few points you made.
With regards to the interior of the place it might resemble a Chinese restaurant, but then again so what? the large round table in the middle that rotates is called a Lazy Susan and is typical of Chinese restaurants because as you probably know, Chinese food is similar to Arabic food in that it is supposed to be served in the middle for everyone to share.
The set menus for 4, 6 and 8 people have been created to help patrons in their choices as most of our guests requested it during the first months of opening. Its presence on the opening page of the menu is another typicality of Chinese restaurants. Besides, a set menu for 8 people at 374,000LL is hardly considered prohibitive.
The menu is simple and has no intent on being sophisticated. it is based on contemporary dishes cooked to perfection without any additives or MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).
As for the mistakes made during your ill-fated dining experience i would like to point out that they have been investigated and remedied to. And although explaining the reasons behind the mistakes is not enough to eradicate them i would still like to mention them.
The waitress serving you did indeed punch in your order of Sweet and Sour Chicken without green peppers and onions but it turns out the kitchen didn’t notice the extra request. And the fact that they did not re-cook your order to your liking is inexcusable. As for the noodle dish you requested it is indeed Pad Thai which is an unusual dish made with Tamarind and rice noodles that are supposed to be sticky.
So in an attempt to change your opinion about the place i would like to invite you and your guests for lunch or dinner at The Jasmine Room so you can experience and discuss first hand the quality of the dishes and ingredients.
Everyone deserves a second chance, especially when we care so much. what do you think?
Najib, you should take Mario’s offer – having an insider from the Jasmine Room reply to your post and extend the customer support to your blog is something! I hope all restaurants will follow suit , Taxi Diner didn’t 🙂
I am pleasantly surprised to hear that my complaints are being heard and that you investigated that much into this incident.
I just need to correct few points you mentioned:
1 – I commented on the interior based on the article i linked to in the beirutnightlif website. I don’t really mind if it resembles a Chinese place but why say it doesn’t? That’s my whole point 🙂
And i pointed out at the round table cause it resembles what i see at chopsticks, a typical chinese place, not that i mind it as well.
2- Concerning the set menus, i was not aware it is a typicality of Chinese restaurants. I was just pointing out that putting such prices might be unattractive. Plus 374,000LL for 8 persons means around 32$ per person which is relatively expensive for Chinese food.
3- I think what you stated concerning the waitress pretty much speaks up for itself. I would expect you to have reacted the same way if i were in my place, or maybe even worse. Someone who has a short temper might have thrown the dish in her face 🙂
Nevertheless, i will politely refuse your invitation and instead promise to go visit you again with some friends without further notice and see if my bad experience was pure coincidence or not.
“Someone who has a short temper might have thrown the dish in her face :-)”
I hope you meant it figuratively; although you never know in the jungle called Beirut??
Even so it seems abusive!
Mais quelle classe M. Nagib! 😉
remember waitress not slave…
I value your personal input and would love to discuss them over a meal at The Jasmine Room.
When is a good time for you?
Patrick, who died and made u the expert in Chinese food?
Spring rolls, seriously?
With all due respect to Nagib, his taste for food can be very subjective; he might have not liked the spring rolls whereas someone else would have loved them.
I myself had a bad experience at the Jasmine, but I was recently compelled to accompany a group of friends there for dinner and I was pleasantly surprised.
See contrary to u, I don’t rate a Chinese restaurant based on their spring rolls but based on their duck and the Jasmine duck is simply delicious. Since it became MY Chinese restaurant to go to.
U always need to give a second chance and kudos for Mario for following up so closely on his business.