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Bab Sharki: A Tasty Blend of Oriental Flavors
Bab Sharki is a restaurant down in Achrafieh. It is a small place that serves Lebanese-Syrian food. I tried it back in July of last year and enjoyed it. I placed it in my list of recommended restaurants as well as highlighting it as one of my Coup de Coeur. This hole in the wall was special but I wish I could say the same about today's experience.
I believe that the problem is that fame has gone to their head. Bab Sharki has been known all over the country, expanding its scope of work, delivering more as well as signing the franchise agreements many people were looking for. Bab Sharki changed from a street-style family restaurant to something it can't quite handle.
Visiting today with my friends, I was shocked at the experience and left angry and hungry, and we continued to eat somewhere else...
We arrived at 1:30 and were not welcomed. The waiters were busy taking delivery orders. As we sat, we had to call for one of the waiters to take our order, they didn't seem to know what smiling was. We ordered mouhammara, which we didn't receive, a plate of Hummos, which was not brought to the table, and some kebbe which were served cold and inedible.
While I was happy introducing the concept to my friends, telling them about one of the country's best restaurants when it comes to quality and taste, I couldn't but watch what the main waiter was doing. The "head waiter" who should be taking care of customers was receiving delivery calls, opening files for those customers on the system and following up on the orders back in the kitchen.
We literally left hungry, our orders were not delivered correctly and the best thing was that everything was charged normally. This "head waiter" didn't bother apologizing or offering dessert or anything that would have made us forget the mistakes.
Bad service, unprofessional waiters, but one can't deny that the food is good, very good, even exquisite. We only had four plates out of the eight we ordered, one better than the other.
- Tabbouleh: I can safely say it's one of the country's best.
- Horrak Osba3o: This is surely the best Horrak Osbao I've had in a lifetime. Perfectly cooked lentils mixed with fried onions, juicy and lemony, those al dente cooked lentils offer a light crunch and a juicy heart with puffy, fried bread forming a pillow to add the crunch and enjoyment. I'm not sure if it's described properly, but this plate is great. A must try for sure.
- Toshka: Now, the tastiest part deserves a paragraph on its own. Toshka is simple yet innovative and extremely tasty. Two loaves of Lebanese bread are turned upside down, spread with kafta and white cheese then toasted. The bread absorbs more heat giving it a crunchy pleasant feel, while the meat and halloumi cheese melt under your teeth in style. A good combination of spices and flavors in every bite that will put a smile on your face. Yum!
- Kebbe Halabiyeh: A round shaped kebbeh cut in four pieces stuffed with butter and mint. I don't know how they do it, but they do it well and their Kebbeh is sublime. The light, crunchy borders and tender heart are heavy but tasty.
Understaffed, unprofessional, a strong smelly place, but one can't deny how good the food is. We finished and were handed a bill with all the items we ordered despite the fact they weren't delivered to the table because the waiter wasn't attentive.
Getting famous is great, expanding the business is a must, but losing traditions and authenticity can make fame crumble like a house of cards. Hoping for a recovery, I'll visit again to check for updates with a positive expectation.