I must admit it has been a very very long time since I last dined out somewhere where I did not need to take Sweet Pea with me and to a nicer establishment rather than some kind of kid friendly eatery. Mr Wasabi and I decided to go to Beirut, somewhere where I have always wanted to try, but every time we walked past it, it was always closed. Beirut offers Lebanese / Middle Eastern cuisine. It is not the easiest place to find as it’s name is on a small metal plaque, which you can just walk past without even noticing it is there.
We did not make any reservations ahead of time, but managed to get the ‘chefs’ table which is basically a seat at the counter overlooking the chef creating his fine creations.
Like most of the newly established restaurants in Auckland, their menu is geared towards sharing. We ordered a few dishes to and try.
Smoked Yoghurt Labna w citrus burnt ghee, date, checkpea, scorched flatbread this dish had caught my eye as it was being served to a fellow diner in the restaurant and it was one dish I wanted even before knew what this dish was. All I can say is that the labna was simply delicious, especially with the date puree, which went very well with the smoked yoghurt. There was definitely more than enough dip for the flat bread, that we ended up ordering another piece of flat bread in order to enjoy more of the labna. *Mr Wasbabi Recommended dish*
Kingfish Kibbeh Nayeh w white and yellow turmeric, citrus, honey, pink peppercorn wasbasically a kingfish ceviche. For a small sharing plate I thought the serving size was quite large, but I was not going to complain. It was served with a number of thinly sliced persimmons, which gave the dish a crunch in amongst the soft fish.
Wedding Tabbouleh – morabiah, zucchini flower, kadaif pastry, goats cheese, heirloom tomato. The word ‘zucchini flower’ caught my attention, which I just love. but to be honest I was expecting whole zucchini flowers in this dish, but failed to see where they were. the intricate birds nest wrapping itself around a small mound of goats cheese was light and crispy.
Beef Basturma w basturma shavings, torched cauliflower, pickled cauliflower – sous vide beef with a sprinkling of salt on top looked amazing yet it was tender and flavoursome. Since we were sitting at the chefs table, this one was of the more popular dishes with diners in the restaurant this evening.
Pashmak – saffron floss, clotted cream, seeds, dried fruits, apricot tea – have you ever heard of saffron candy floss before? it certainly is
interesting with these very fine sugary strands brought me back to my childhood memories when I use to go to the fair (A&P fair) eating my bag full of candyfloss. They definitely did not skint on the saffron as you canclearly taste it. Though I am wondering the use of the clotted cream with the candyfloss, as it did not do it for me.
Overall the dishes looked very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. though to be honest there were some dishes that were more favourable than others.
This is definitely one of the nicer restaurateur that I have been to in a while and definitely will look forward in returning again in the near future. The staff here are very knowledge about the menu and friendly.
Location: 85 Fort Street, Auckland