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At The Airport: Lebanon’s First Red Velvet Cream Cheese Croissant
Pure amazement is what’s being offered at the airport. Beautifully designed cakes the way Alain Ducasse decorates them, filled croissants like I’ve had them in the states, multi-layered creations premium pastries of Beirut never did. Salt is the airport’s restaurant where food is much more than casual quick bites for travelers.
I’ve been here several times already, and each visit doesn’t stop to impress me. Exquisite cakes, beautiful designs, superb flavors, handled by a staff that’s trained to perfection. You are greeted with a smile, you are served like a king and promised a unique culinary experience.
After a tour of the kitchens, chef Camille Wehbé, the executive chef behind all this magic invited me up to the first floor. You have to see the kitchens this is why I asked to be welcomed with my camera for a day experiencing and sharing what happens behind this marvelous food. I was not traveling today; I was invited to have a decent culinary experience you’ll look at differently from now on.
Discovering a one-of-a-kind red velvet croissant in New York, I asked chef Charles Azar, one of the country’s finest pastry chefs to try and replicate it in his own way; today, I was invited at the airport to try this unique creation and compare it with the original one. Chef Charles Azar is the pastry culinary consultant. The croissant less creamy, more upscale, cheesier and had much more finesse to it. The red croissant topped with red velvet crumbs and lines of chocolate is filled with a load of Mascarpone cream cheese. Bite into it and leave it to explode from all sides.
But walking through the display of cakes... you can’t but have them all! A hot chocolate the way Dominique Ansel in New York does it, a thick dark chocolate with no excess sugar was offered to start. It’s a show, a fun way of serving it exactly like high-end coffee shops like Angelina and Ladurée serve it.
Proud to be enjoying such quality at the airport in Beirut, I was eager to try the cakes; superbly designed and decorated, the cakes are art pieces.
Try the Christmas cake if you still can; a massive piece of cake sold at a reasonable LBP8,000 and loaded with dozens of ingredients, nuts and dried fruits. A cake I never had before in town.
- Eclair, the eclair, the best eclair in Lebanon is, unfortunately, can’t be found in the local market. Dark chocolate ganache, dark chocolate filling with a kick of cocoa after note filled into a tender eclair that doesn’t chew or stick to the teeth. The cakes are decorated with a square of chocolate on which is imprinted “Merry Christmas.”
- Tasty, a crunchy tart decorated with a handful of red fruits. The redberries tart will make your heart skip a beat.
- The eclair marron, chestnut cream filling, and white ganache is out of this world! Out of this world is the last that can be said, the journey of flavors and textures makes it hard for the brain to understand it. This is outstanding!
- When you hear bûche, butter and sponge come to mind; this chocolate bûche is far from being that, a bed of crunchy cookie topped with a cylinder of chocolate mousse. Two thumbs up chef, I’m out of words!
- The traditional bûche is the most delicious bûche I’ve had this year; so spongy and so airy, it runs around your mouth like magic. I’m unfortunate that the quality above can’t be found in town for everyone to try.
It might sound awkward but after all these cakes I’ve tried the Poke; Sharing a meal with chef Camille, I was happy to feel the passion in his eyes, this guy knows what he’s doing. One avocado, cut in half, filled with salmon cubes in one and tuna in the other. A sashimi salad served in a rape avocado sprinkled with sesame and mixed in a sweet teriyaki sauce. Let me tell you that the sushi quality is way better than the wannabe Japanese restaurants on the market.
I even visited Balkoumi, cafematik and Akle restaurants which I'll be reviewing later.
Impressed! Can’t say more! Might be expensive because the rent is but the quality is the best out there following ISO22,000 standards handled by the best team.