Beirut might only be a three-hour flight away, but all you need to do is to head to the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar for some of the best Beiruit fare in the UAE capital.
International cuisines don’t always travel well. There’s usually something not quite right – the taste, the look, a missing ingredient. But this is not the case at Maison Beirut, a Lebanese restaurant located in Fairmont Bab Al Bahar, even the view from the restaurant makes you feel as if you’re on the Lebanese coastline overlooking the Mediterranean.
But as great as the view of Al-Maqta Canal is, we’re here for one of Lebanon’s greatest exports, Beiruti cuisine, and oh boy, does it hit the all the right spots at this spectacular Beirut Brunch!
The interior is sleek, as is the service, and Arabic music fills the restaurant, merging with the chatter of friends as tables begin to fill up. The lively atmosphere is a quintessential aspect of Lebanese restaurants and Beirut Brunch at Maison Beirut certainly delivers that vision and beyond.
The Beirut Brunch dishes up everything that is fabulous about Lebanese cuisine, such as a fresh selection of salads, a never-ending mezza, meat delicacies and grilled dishes, not to mention those oh so sweet desserts.
An array of colourful dishes soon fill the table in the form of hot and cold mezza, served by a waiter whose manner is impeccable. The salads are fresh and vibrant, especially the fattouche, consisting of lettuce and cucumber, sliced radish, chunks of juicy tomato, and a sprinkling of fresh mint and pomegranate pieces with the sweet and tangy dibs rumman or pomegranate molasses and a sprinkle of crispy Arabic pieces of bread. The baba ghanouj dip is smoky and smooth, the roasted aubergine blending well with small pieces of onion and bell pepper with a drizzle of sweet dibs rumman.
Shanklish, a crumbly cheese, is a favourite. Its notable salty taste is mixed with herbs, capsicum, onion and tomato. Ask your waiter to mix it for you with a drizzle of olive oil and eat by scooping it up with the piping hot, freshly baked Arabic bread.
If you’ve ever eaten Sawda Djej (chicken livers) with dibs rumman in Beirut, you’ll know how difficult it is to source such goodness and replicate such a taste in restaurants outside of Lebanon. We’re happy to report that, along with the entire menu, the Beirut Brunch at Maison Beirut has got it just right. The combination of chicken liver, garlic and pomegranate delivers a velvety texture that melts in your mouth, surrendering a sweet and sour, rich and meaty delight.
Raw meat might not sound appetising to most of us, but please do taste the kibbeh nayeh, a serving of fresh meat, mixed herbs, onion and bourghul. Simple scoop it up with the freshly baked Arabic bread, and we promise you’ll be ordering again and again.
Also among the mezze are shamandar (beetroot) salad, hummus moutabal, mudardara (a lentil dish) hindbeh (Dandelion greensor Chicory), warak enab (stuffed Vine leaves), batata hara (spicy oven-cooked potatoes), ras assfor (cooked meat), cheese roll, balila… the list is endless. The mezze is a mountainous affair, but don’t forget that when the Lebanese dine, it’s a social affair and families are large, so when you book do take a large crowd of friends with you.
Meat lovers will also enjoy the mix grill of lamb kofta, shish tawouk and lamb cubes, brilliantly served in a barbeque-style, Arabesque box covered in spicy bread. It’s a lot to manage but do save room for the tasty desserts of halawet al jibin, Um Ali, baklawa maamoul chocolat and assorted jams. We recommend a Turkish coffee to end it all, knowing you’ll be back for more!
The Beirut Brunch at Maison Beirut takes place every Friday and Saturday, noon-4pm. The family-style set menu is 149 AED with soft drinks. To book, call 056-502-4999 or email [email protected]