CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
A Majestic Breakfast at Hotel Le Vendome Beirut
Claude Lauxerrois' Cheese Selection: Discover France on a Table
Sydney's: The Come Back... A Simple Yet Refined Culinary Experience
Sydney's: Le Vendome's Famous Lounge
Breakfast at Sydney's: Service and Food Used to Be Better...
Sydney's is Back: Meeting Chef Rabih Fouany and the Team
Sit on a relaxing chair, enjoy a finely set table, a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea and some soothing music... Breakfast at Le Vendôme Beirut has always been something I look forward to... at least it used to be... For a hotel like this one, it's a pity, and more so unacceptable, to see breakfast at its restaurant 'Sydney's' go down hill…
I arrived at 08:30am expecting to enjoy a hefty breakfast.
- Three types of jam and peanut butter
- Honey comb
- Poached apricot
- Three kinds of cheese and three kinds of labneh
- Three choices of cold cuts, smoked salmon and ham with asparagus
- Three choices of salads, yogurt and Muesli
- Six choices of fruits cut into cubes
- Fresh juices
- Croissants and Danish pastry
- A selection of French bread
- Chocolate doughnuts and financier
- Cereals, cakes and dried fruits
- Hash brown and grilled vegetables
- Sahlab and foul
You can order from the kitchen:
- Hummus Balkis
- Traditional Knefeh
- Selection of manakish
- English cake
- Eggs of your choice
- Any preferred garnish with your eggs
- Where is the starters tower sent to every table?
- Where are the manakish we used to receive at the table?
- Where are the eggs on display at the buffet?
- Where are the endless choices of nuts?
- French toast?
I enjoyed the food and the way items are presented as well as the desserts, bread and croissant section. I had a selection of cheese and labneh with some in-house freshly prepared bread. It all seemed fresh, but I can't say the same for the salmon platter. It was obviously prepared the day before, it was hard and dry. Some of the things I tried:
- A thick piece of English muffin, soft with lightly toasted sides, a thick slice of ham and a poached egg... on top is the sauce, the famous Hollandaise, creamy and intensely lemony and decorated with fresh greens. Good bread, soft eggs with flowing yolks and a beautifully done Hollandaise creamier than I had expected but still memorable. If you feel like having a good Eggs Benedict in Beirut, this is one of the top 3.
- Eggs Florentine is as good as ever and indeed even better.
- Knefeh - is good - melted cheese that has hardened, crispy bread crumbs, enough sweetness and a super chewy bread kaaka.
- Waffles are thin and crispy, they absorb the maple syrup and become juicy on the inside, and biscuity on the outside. But they're not as good as I expected them to be.
- Pancakes... an acceptable taste, fluffy but cold and the plate looks dull and un-appetizing.
- Let's talk about service at Le Vendôme... The only professional treatment they offer is the lady at the welcome desk. A classy lady welcomes you with a smile, greats you with gentle words and accompanies you to the table of your choice to have a pleasant meal. She makes sure to hand you a candy for the road following you to the elevator on your way out. Other than that, I'm sorry to tell you that Le Vendôme has lost its Savoir-Faire.
- After visiting in 2012, I came back in 2013 and decided not to publish the review made then of the sub-standard breakfast. Today, visiting again, all I can remember are the plates left on the table during breakfast, a dirty table cover, a coffee taking time to reach me, waiters you have to search for hiding around the place... What you expect at Le Vendôme is a luxurious service in a five star hotel. I expect plates to be changed every fifteen minutes, coffee to be refilled without asking, a menu showing the available orders from the kitchen, more attention and more professionalism... and better looking black suits.
- You expect pampering but you get nothing more than a normal buffet breakfast with a gentle staff up to the standard of a French bistro.
The good part: Breakfast is still at $30 while other hotels serve breakfast for more...
Verdict: It used to be one of my favorite breakfasts in town... but not anymore.
Lazy valet parking, a not so joyful reception staff, waiters lack know-how... I hope things will get back on track and up to the standard expected of such a fine establishment.