CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Burgundy Restaurant & Wine Bar, Beirut
Burgundy: The Art of Gastronomy
Burgundy: When the Master Chef Creates
Sometimes, words are never enough to express the true intense feeling of how much I enjoyed a culinary experience. This is exactly how I felt after my experience at Burgundy. Welcome to Lebanon's finest.
Touring around Lebanon's restaurants, I can safely say that around 190 of them have made it to one of my Top 10 lists of 2014. Each one offers something different which leaves you happy and satisfied... But a very few offer the ultimate perfection of fine dining, that kind of perfection that will leave you amazed on all level – starting with concept, décor and food.
Tonight's experience was breathtaking!
- Enter a restaurant, which I believe deserves a star from the Michelin legacy. A restaurant where every detail is mastered to perfection, where the chef think and breathes food, where the owner inspires confidence in what he does and believes in, and a restaurant guarantees satisfaction, especially with a price tag that's a bit justifiable.
- Leave your car with the valet before walking through the glass door, which leads to the restaurant. Behind the curtain, a wall of bottles protects the beautiful decor. A high ceiling and dimmed lighting, golden and metallic colors embraced by soothing tunes that will accompany you through the night.
- Tables are simple, built of light wood panels covered with dark fabrics placemats and topped with a full set of cutlery. Water glasses, wine glasses and silver forks and knives on white tablecloths, and surely the bread plate while Tannourine glass water bottles pass around.
The place's beautiful decor notes:
- A rectangular space, perfectly lit by the dozen black lanterns pending from the arcade ceiling.
- A long arcade covered with metallic stripes supporting the speakers while two lines of rectangular ducts bring in the needed amount of air while recycling the space.
- Sambonet Italy, cutlery and Stolzle wine glasses are high-end brands used at Burgundy.
- The floor is covered with stripes of a darker color.
- On the left side, a long bar welcomes clients who come in for a drink or a quick bite. High wooden chairs face it. Wine bottles are displayed behind the counter.
- To the right, a wall covered with golden metallic panels, host three pictures.
- Wines are everywhere, bottles decorating the corners and walls.
- The best table is the one occupying the right side corner where a sofa is tucked.
- At the end of the restaurant, a large glass facade offers a view of the inner court of Saifi Village.
The first impression:
- The menus are distributed without prices, except to the person inviting. That's a fine dining detail rarely used at restaurants around the world and surely a premiere in Lebanon.
- Service is very professional and smooth. Waiters are well trained, they know what they are doing yet act humble giving you enough space to breathe.
Dinner started with a small rectangular black board including a portion of butter and sea salt bits. A warmed butter that melts like heaven on in-house prepared selection of bread... Perfectly crunchy full-bodied bread with a thick envelope and moist heart that's airy enough to be enjoyed.
"Amazing" is the first impression.
I was starting to lose hope of experiencing fine-dining restaurants in Lebanon. With more Bistros, diners, burgers joints…. On the rise.. Tonight, Burgundy left me amazed, simply amazed by the sophistication and perfection of the whole thing.
And dinner started:
- Tartine de Thaume de Chèvre Perfumé a la Truffle Noire: On a thick white marble plate come two squares of bread. Thinly cut bread filled with thaume cheese, melting with finesse without any mess involved. Just imagine: Crispy dough with melting heart. Enjoy a crunchy feel, flowing cheese while the smell of truffle caresses your sense of smell. A long lasting flavor accompanies you for the minutes that follow.
- Roula doesn't eat goat meat. The waiter noticed that her plate remained untouched got her a plate of salmon, Rouleau de Saumon Parfumé au Yuzu. This is a piece of transparent salmon that's even tenderer than butter. It is the most sophisticated and tasty salmon I have had in Lebanon to date. A juicy bite that's aromatic and fresh combining a key to activate your five senses at once.
- Their signature dish? What other than the frogs. Burgundy is known for its frogs and believe me you won't understand the hype behind them until one has touched your tongue. A casserole filled with frogs, balls of meat standing on a long bone marinated in lemon and garlic which none of us even felt. Super tender, these small beautiful bites are addictive! Ouf! Bites of wonders where flavor is mastered to perfection. Finesse is the word here, especially that each flavor is enjoyed.
- The fois gras is tasty; the way it is presented and combined with sweet ingredients makes it a unique. A thick round shaped piece of Foie gras with a whole filled with Yuzu jam lies majestically on a crumble of pain d'epices, served along side honey brioche. A large white plate left half empty with one side decorated with the combination of Foie gras and its accessories. Perfectly neat, the plate hosts a condensed thick piece of foie gras that's tasty and enjoyable. As good as you expect it to be, a little subtle sweetness the jam adds, a tender smooth brioche and a lot of know how. A detail, which left me, impressed, is the cylinder container for the jam. It was set aside for a better decoration. Bravo!
- Dos de Biche: If you think you have tasted tender meat before, think again. Two blocks of meat, tender and soft like butter, beautifully presented on a plate - a piece of art. It is mouthwatering; green beans, potato purée, juice and onion confit, the plate is a starred chef marvel. I loved the red color it offers without being bloody, its shape, its tenderness and accompaniments. Next to that, you’ll find homemade potato purée: Perfect! You can order this same purée with truffle oil.
- I have eaten black cod fish a dozen times already and all I remember is something black, very black and too sweet. I have never had one this good before: Adequately sweet, super tender, beautifully decorated plate, cooked to perfection and served with bright vegetables on one side and noodles on the other - set in a cylindrical way. This plate is exceptional.
- The Salmon, called the country's best for a reason. Dill, Wasabi and lemon confit; Excellent!
Impressive. Yes, I see you nodding your heads and saying that Burgundy is indeed tasty but too expensive. I can't but agree on that, but still believe that a lot is done in here for the price paid. It is by far the finest restaurant in Lebanon and for that, a certain price has to be paid.
Before moving on, allow me to introduce you to a special person, someone that has been working very hard for the last years proving that us Lebanese can be internationally acclaimed. Chef Youssef Akiki is the man, the man behind all these beautiful photos you've seen. Here’s a chef who works following international standards, a chef who deserves a star for sure.
Considering the fact that Le Guide Michelin is not in Lebanon and the Middle East, I would humbly allow myself to give him a virtual star myself. Chef, you have my biggest appreciation and respect.
Just when we thought dinner was over, a surprise hit our table. Tartine aux Truffes noir... Served on white marble plate, a slice of baguette with crunchy borders and warm tender heart is topped with cold slices of black truffles. Generously loaded, this bite is a luxurious ticket to heaven. Truffles that crumble under the teeth while the bread melts and the olive oil flows around your tongue. Breathtaking! I though the experience was fine until a salty aftertaste exploded... Beautiful!
For dessert, we had a selection to share:
- A pear flavored pastry cream with chestnut cream similar to a Mont Blanc. It’s crunchy, fresh and crusty but without the meringues.
- The Balade is something special. Ready to impress, a glass is topped with four chocolate cones covered with cepe infused meringues that look like mushrooms with pastry cream and two choices of ice cream. Served warm, you can see the vapors from all sides. Four chocolate leaves, chocolate bits and chocolate cream, this is dessert that should not be missed.
- I didn't understand or like the Tiramisu much. I was expecting better textures and more flavors. This is the only thing I didn't like today. This is more of a rectangular mousse.
- The chocolate soufflé is a local version of the renowned cake. It is a mix between chocolate fondant and soufflé. Smooth, tender and very airy, the soufflé, served hot, is perfect for a late night dessert.
To make the experience impeccable, I would offer complementary dark chocolate bites at the end and make the head waiters ware white gloves.
What else can be said other than that the fact that the whole experience was perfect? I was truly amazed by Burgundy.
I now have a new favorite restaurant in Lebanon... At least once in a lifetime, Burgundy should be visited... for sure.