Before writing this review, I was trying to find some history about Boubouffe on the net, with not much luck. I found a few reviews on the food, but nothing about the place itself and its ambiance. For a long time now, people have been infatuated with the food served at Boubouffe or are they just following a hype. Personally, although I like the ambiance this place has to offer, the food was not high up on my list of favorite.
Boubouffe has now moved to its new location in Achrafieh, just few meters away from its old location. It is now an individual house called "The Lebanese Brasserie". Opened in 1976, Boubouffe was one of the first places to change the way people enjoy the popular street food sandwich, the shawarma. What was usually sold in a "not always hygienic" street ambiance, was introduced in a more refined way in a Lebanese style diner.
This individual house and its light yellow colors just invites to come in:
- Open the door to access this large welcoming square
- Inside is a wide area with high ceiling. It is relaxing
- The floor is covered with beige stamped concrete that blends well with the general decor
- Brown wood panels cover the ceiling to add more warmth
- The restaurant has a general yellowish ambiance provided by the painted walls
- Light blue wood and glass facades allow the needed amount of daylight to enter, as well as put guests into the community environment
- All the tables are setup with a yellow table cloth, covered with a protective glass panel
- On each table, two glasses, one for wine and another for water, a Libby's ketchup bottle and a basket of bread welcome you as you sit
- A preset cutlery ambulances a plate over a paper placemat
- Filling the space, to the left is the famous grill and its two shawarma rollers behind the long bar and its high stools
- More upfront is a bar filled with bottles
- Nine lamps pend down from the ceiling adding the right amount of light
- A cozier space at the end of the restaurant between the restrooms and the terrace door
- Outside is the covered smoking area with no arguile
- Paintings by Lebanese artists decorate the walls
- The restaurant has one single round table occupying the right corner with a vintage chandelier pending over it
- Two LCD TV screens, one on each side add some entertainment
As we sat down waiting for the menus, I enjoyed the nice interior this place offers. Really, the idea of having a LebaneseBrasserie is amazing. Exactly like the Frenchbrasseries of Paris,Boubouffe offers a relaxing, trendy and warm ambiance where positive vibes embrace the air. Everyone seems happy, everyone seems relaxed spending some good time in here.
The menu sections:
- les plats du jour
- les entrees
- les soupes
- les sandwiches
- les burgers
- les salades
- les pates
- les pizza
- les poissons
- les grillades
- les desserts
- les glaces
- Hummus is over saturated with garlic covering any real taste of chickpeas. It's more of a garlic paste with hummus
- Makanek are good, soft and crunchy, filled with premium content. The lemony sauce adds the needed enjoyable flavor
- Halloumi slices are too thick, too salty and served cold. Nothing special about this plate
- I thought I was eating kafta until I felt the spices in this Soujok plate. Soujok often look like makanek, same shape and crunch, yet with another filling. These look more like kaftan in "kaftan w batata". Their spices are way too strong
- The stuffed vine leaves are too soggy and their presentation is not appetizing
- The vegetable plate doesn't look fresh and it's clear that it has traveled from a table to the other
- Shawarma is good but not superb as many describe it, or at least as one would expect it to be. Large pieces of meat are stuffed in an oily piece of bread
- The mussels are fresh and good
- The best of the best were the homemade style authentic French fries. Yummy! Delicious.
When asked about my experience the same night, I was told: "Remember that it's a brasserie Anthony, don't expect much".
No: I don't agree. The best food available in Lebanon is found at French Brasseries. An upscale "Lebanese Snack", especially Boubouffe should and can do better.
As we moved to the desserts, wet and hot individual napkins were distributed to refresh before passing to round two.
- Achta ice-cream is fine but the portion is too small
- Banana Split would have been better with more ice cream and less cream
- Meringue is an interesting idea but again, more ice cream is definitely needed
- The yellow vanilla ice cream is too sweet and has an unpleasant commercial taste
- The place's ambiance is really nice
- The positive vibes around will make me come back for sure
- I liked the french fries
Here I am, finally visiting Boubouffe, a popular Lebanese brasseries around, among people living in and out of Achrafieh. A concept more than 30 years old which no one could copy to date. This is one of the reasons I expected a lot more from Boubouffe's dining experience. But nevertheless, the place is nice and worth visiting...
- Although the staff is polite, they need a lot of additional training
- I expected better food from Boubouffe