La Marina Joseph Khoury, a place known for its luxurious feel and for being one of the main recreation seaports of Lebanon. Now that Waterfront City is seeing the light of day, this club is becoming the talk of the town.
At La Marina, the club has a restaurant only accessed by members or for private events booked in advance. Handled by Carma, the third floor usually hosts private gatherings like the one we were invited to recently. So why don't I tell you about the experience?
Up on the third floor is a cozy saloon, covered with wood and lit with a warm ambiance. Sofas, a bar, a conference room and a large rectangular space filled with round tables. The space looks nice and will easily host successful events... But the rest needs some work.
The first impression is good: I asked for a Diet Coke which was served in the can itself to guarantee the contents, they also use Perrier cans while waiters make sure everyone is served. After the presentation, we were invited to dinner.
- White fabrics cover the tables.
- A set of cutlery, old and rugged and looking like they were used during the World War, were laid on the table. Three forks and three knives, a crowded setup, but unfortunately no bread plate.
- After one single basket of bread landed on every table, a basket offering small balls of bread, tender and soft alongside a plate of black olives, arrived.
Some details before we start:
- Service is very rough and the waiters are unprofessional. They lack finesse and proper manners.
- The waiters' clothes have to be looked into.
- Plastic water bottles are used, not glass ones.
- Dinner, a three course meal, was a guessing game. No menu was printed or distributed on the tables, so you had to guess what you're eating: unacceptable.
- Only one member of staff was touring around with the wine, which meant it took an eternity to serve everyone.
I'm not sure what the level of service is in here. Is it a cafe where all waiters have their shoulders covered with hair? Is it a high end restaurant serving three courses meals? Are they trying to impress us? Good looking plates, but very average food.
This was called, a gala dinner.
Dinner was served:
- So the first plate landed on the table. A decorated plate with three different sections, that looked nice until we start tasting it. I didn't understand what salmon has to do with apricot or the diced strawberries or a mountain of mayonnaise. I started with the salmon, which I found to be dull and a bit fatty. Continuing with the crab sticks, they were mixed with some bits of pasta in a mayonnaise sauce. The only good thing about it was the pomegranate bits on top. Next to that, strawberry and cucumber bits in a green sauce. So, to recap, strawberries, cucumbers, noodles, crab, salmon, compote... All of that together ... it just doesn't make sense.
- After the full fledged starter came the salad. I think they didn't know what to serve first. A fulfilling salad with slices of oranges, lemon, cheese, mushrooms, grapes, lettuce, rocket, iceberg and pomegranate. A lemon sauce rounded it all off. Fresh ingredients and an enjoyable mix of different flavors... But I believe it's too much.
- The last plate was rice and shrimps. A mountain of over cooked rice mixed with green beans alongside six over cooked shrimps in a yellow curry sauce. What a lack of finesse, savior faire and taste.
I think Carma should turn into a pastry shop:
- We had a large number of options for dessert, a buffet of endless choices. A selection of a dozen cakes including a mille-feuille, a cheesecake, chocolate cake, tart and many others. The cakes were correct, not the finest I've had, but very decent for a dinner like this one.
The verdict: Not impressed
Organizing your event at La Marina? Maybe this review is a quick overview of what to expect.