Inspired by the French bistros of Paris and still standing strong in the heart of Beirut, Balthazar, a French restaurant and cafe, opens for breakfast and lunch. Located in “Beirut Souks”, the casual eatery gives you the chance to experience the busy action of downtown Beirut. My last visit was in 2014, when I came here for the Pain Perdu and never thought coming back ever since until this Saturday morning: I loved the food!
Decorated with glass from Murano, flowers coming down from the ceiling, golden mosaic and burgundy brushed seats, the restaurant is so last-decade. Other than needing a serious renovation, service needs to be reinvented. On a calm Saturday morning, feeling like starting my weekend in style, I stopped by Balthazar where one waiter, cleaning the tables like taxi drivers remove dust from their cars, seems to have waken-up on the wrong side of the bed.
No music, no positive vibes, black tables and black plastic placemats, this place is far from being welcoming. It’s was already 08:35am, and the croissants were not yet delivered. On the menu, choose from several choices of viennoiseries, three plates of eggs, two omelettes, a plate of halloumi and another of salmon. Wait, the music is on! Wow... that’s an amazing playlist! I Shazamed all the songs.
- The halloumi cheese plate: two thick chunks of halloum, grilled to perfection keeping their heart moist and tender. They offer a grilling flavor while staying smooth. Served with pines and a side salad, marinated in lemon oil, the lemon flows under the halloum slices adding a kick to them. A simple and tasty plate.
- The turkey, cheese and tomato pain brioché sandwich is a must try. A very thick slice of bread, airy inside out and embraced with toasted borders, the big piece of bread is covered with a mix of smoked turkey, fondue raclette cheese and diced tomatoes. Even though the bread is too thick and requires a side sauce go smoothen it, I loved the innovation behind this gourmet sandwich.
- Scrambled eggs and salmon in a pan, a sprinkle of salt and pepper... now enjoy. Beautifully cooked, the eggs are moist and watery the way they should be and the salmon quality is excellent. With a side of toasted brioche bread, you can’t but clean up the plate with your bread, and enjoy this great mix.
Good food is served here, very good food indeed with a great potential only if this place speaks the language of our speedy society. An uplifted decor, a happier service, a serious online presence and people will come here more often, specially for the food that speaks the European language of finesse.
I had to have the Pain perdu: prepared in a bowl, the pain perdu is made of bread cubes, marinated I sweet milk and baked for twenty minutes. This is the country only pain perdu served with a sodé of sea-salt and makes a big difference. Considered by many is being one of the country’s best, it will make it on my Top10 list.
Good food is served at Balthazar: I enjoyed my breakfast.