We are nearing the end of our 5 day Eid holidays bonanza and my view has had a 360 degree flip. At the start of the holidays, I was feeling underwhelmed about not going for a mini-vacation outside this hot country. I gave many a hints to my hubby who adamantly refused to take any. Well, there’s a reason why he didn’t. It is because we are going on our annual leave towards the end of October. Disappointed, that all the people I know were making the most of this 5 day break by visiting the nearby countries, I didn’t feel there was much to look forward to. Anyone who has lived in Bahrain would know that entertainment options are very limited. Eating out and visiting friends (if any) are the only two options given the weather at this time of the year.
So for one of the dinners we went to one of the restaurants that we always meant to visit but never got around doing it. Beyroute – which is a Lebanese restaurant on Budaiya highway has been one such joint. Budaiya has been an area where some unrest has been reported time and again and for that reason we had missed visiting Beyroute. But being legendary ‘foodies’ we decided to brave all the unrest and finally ended up visiting Beyroute. Was it a food journey worth risking our lives for , if you would ask; perhaps not. But having said that it would be only fair to admit that some of the traditional dishes were exceptional.
Beyroute is beautiful to say the least. When you enter the vicinity, you would be struck by how beautifully it has been done. There is something deja-vu-ish about its interiors but not it in the cliched sort of way. It is has a calming effect on the mood which in my opinion is because of the right kind of lighting and colors. The walls are adorned by classic black and white photographs of old Beirut. The seating is wooden chairs and tables which were slightly uncomfortable after sometime. For any fine dining, in my view, requires comfortable seating because people who come to dine aren’t in to grab a meal on the go but to enjoy the full length of the meal, savoring the flavours, making conversations and essentially enjoying the whole dining experience. And comfortable seating is definitely one of the main factors that ensures that people remain seated rather than shift uncomfortably after 15 minutes of being seated. So that was definitely one glitch in the whole dining experience.
Now for the food.
Beyroute diners are given steamed/boiled fava beans and brined olives on the house. This was my first time tasting fava beans and I loved them. Somewhere they reminded me of green peas but their texture and taste is milder and more filling.
For starters we ordered the customary hummous with bread which was devoured soon. The silken hummous was excellent being the finest I have tasted in recent times. Bread was fresh from the oven. We also ordered for watermelon juice which wasn’t fresh and was laden with sugar inspite of having told the server that sugar was a strict no-no. For the main course, we ordered our individual dishes.
The first being the Spinach Manakeesh which was sumptuous and belly filling to say the least with the generous stuffing of spinach and cheese stuffed inside the flat bread. For my vegetarian friend, Falafel is staple at all Arabic joints and Beyroute was no exception. We were served crispy and crunchy falafel with a not so charming dip and pickled, radish, turnips and carrots.
Our hearts were warmed with a hearty lentil soup served with wedges of lime and crispy, chips-like deep fried pita bread on the side. Our appetites were more or less satiated after this and a batch of fresh fries with ketchup.
While ordering, we didn’t consider the portions and soon realized that we had over-ordered because we had Grilled hammour platter, Fattet Djei ( a chicken dish in a deep bowl) and Fried eggs in olive oil to finish.
Grilled hammour was delightful with the flesh grilled to perfection with soft and crumbly fish meat spiced just right served with a salad on the side and a lip smacking dip.
The Fattet Djei was a let down or maybe our palette wasn’t used to such bland Lebanese dish. It just felt like some warm yogurt with cooked chicken, crispy, deep fried pita bread and fava beans with absolutely zero seasoning. After a few spoonfuls it was left on the side, ignored and untouched.
The fried eggs were comfort food at its best and I had ordered that for my daughter who showed very little interest unfortunately. She was content munching on the steamed fava beans and sipping on the sugary watermelon juice.
It was a lot of food of which the fish and falafel had to be doggy bagged. The total bill came to 20 BD for 3 people, which is moderate considering the amount of food we had ordered along with a watermelon juice and a large bottle of water.
The staff was polite and most considerate except in the case of the watermelon juice. For some reason, I felt reluctant about sending it back because somewhere I knew they would probably bring the same glass back ( just a hunch from extensive experience of eating out at numerous restaurants)
Happy to announce that Beyroute has been SLICED!!!
Our experience has been above average in all the departments concerning the ‘ Eating out” process at Beyroute. Would we come out of our way to dine here; well that remains to be seen. Right now, when I ask the dinner attendees if they would visit Beyroute again, the answers vary from a strict NO to maybe ( if someone else is paying).
Now for the verdict;
Food – 3/5
Service – 3/5
Overall – 3/5
Beyroute would see better days if they changed their seating to something more comfortable, probably serve liquor and deliver more value by revamping their cuisine to do justice to all the money they’ve spent on their splendid decor.
This is my penultimate Restaurant Review and with the 24th review, I would conclude my Restaurant Review Project. It has been such an exciting and long ( long , long long ) food journey that has over shot all the expected timelines. Nevertheless, it has been the most amazing one.