November 07, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Claude Lauxerrois' Cheese Selection: Discover France on a Table

Non-smokers friendly

Phone Number: +961 1 368 800

Address:

Website: http://www.levendomebeirut.com/restaurants.php?id=1

Price Range: 60-80 $

Sydney's Sydney's
3.5 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:70/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 9/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 20/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: Soon

If you love cheese then look out for Master Cheese Maker Claude Lauxerrois the next time he's in Lebanon and indulge in your “formaggio food fantasies”. Master Cheese Maker Claude Lauxerrois is one of the most renowned Maître Fromager in France and he has traveled the globe, promoting delicious cheese products such as the well-loved Selles sur Cher, Reblochons and Camembert from his native country. I have met Maitre Claude several years ago. He has visited Lebanon 14 times already and I personally admire his personality, nice humor and interesting selection of cheese. As soon as I knew that he was visiting again, I grabbed the opportunity to meet with him. (Watch the video and enjoy the know-how this man has to offer)

 

Cheese addicts were in for a treat as he delighted guests with his unique gourmet and evocative cheese tasting session, all of which were paired by locally produced wines. “It’s my rule,” shared Claude Lauxerrois “Everywhere I go, my cheeses must only be sampled with local wines. Lebanon has some amazing wines of its own now, making this a most exciting prospect.” Unfortunately tonight, the choices were not up to the standard. Out of 44 different wine producers and hundreds of different labels out there, the choice of Blanc de Blanc and Chateau Ksara 2009 were the best they could find? Tonight's event was a mix of fine preparations by Sydney's chefs coupled with a selection of cheeses from Maitre Lauxerrois. Claude_Lauxerrois_Cheese__Sydneys_Beirut02 Sydney's night ambiance:

  • Lounge music travels around the rooms enchanting the area
  • Pleasant dimmed lighting brings out the reddish declaration
  • A feel even warmer and more enjoyable than the one felt at lunch. Sydney's maintains its interesting romantic ambiance
  • At night all the colors become more pronounced and the ambiance also becomes more relaxing
  • Low ceiling with lots of yellow lights showing the many details of architecture
  • The mix between the red walls, blue leather sofas with white fabrics chairs all setup on the beautiful Scottish pattern carpet
  • An old English style with a touch of modernism. Red, black and white are three colors used extensively around the lounge
  • Red, dark blue and black leather sofas are all very relaxing
  • A space divided into five different seating areas (the bar, the winter room on the right, the dining room on the left, the buffet area, the inner corridor, the outer alley of tables and the terrace)
  • The main seating area with its square and rectangular tables and beige chairs
  • Outside is totally different with light colored chairs set up on a wooden parquet floor
  • The inner floor is covered with a Scottish carpet adding the needed warmth and luxury (Red, blue, green and yellow)
  • All the paintings have been replaced with newer designs that will fill your time while trying to understand each one of them

The cheese tasting session began with mild goat cheeses, then moved to firmer, more piquant varieties like Comte (a cow’s-milk cheese similar to Gruyère) and finished with more robust offerings such as a Roquefort. There was also rarefied cheeses directly from France such as Camembert, Reblochon, Mont d’or, Langres, Maconnais, Ste. Maure, Deauvillais, Abbaye, Livarot, Brie de Meaux, Munster, Boulonnais, Comte, Cantal, Fondant d’Anjou, Selles sur Cher, Tomme, Beaufort and others... Claude_Lauxerrois_Cheese__Sydneys_Beirut27 Dinner prepared by Sydney's chefs:

  • Black buttery truffle fine tartlet, smoked duck roll: A puff pastry covered with a layer of black truffle and decorated with a rolled piece of duck. This bite is too salty for my taste without finding a real feeling of truffles. The side mousse is way too creamy for a start dish and extremely heavy. I would have imagined the first impression to be different

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  • Fresh ceps with wild asparagus, Manchego cheese and young leaves with truffle oil, salty crusted bread:  A fresh and attractive plate with interesting colors. Soft asparagus that slide gently under the teeth, rich ceps, an interesting flavor of the cheese and a tasty seasoning combining olive oil and lemon

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  • Quail breast with soft cheese ravioli and dry apricot with cooking jus: I didn't like the sweetness of the ravioli and it's thickness that's not up to the standard of a fine dining restaurant. As for the cooking jus, it lacks character. The quail are acceptable but too chewy with an unpleasant gelatin crunch. The meat that comes with it is warm/cold. Honestly, with no hard feelings, I expected much better from Sydney's chefs specially after enjoying lunch few weeks ago...

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  • Cheese was served without bread until we asked for it. We were offered a couple of square bread slices, gently toasted, served on a silver stand

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  • Milk jam with black and white crisp macadamia praline: I loved the ice cream served in a consistent ball and covered with rich and crunchy macadamia nuts. The milk jam, presented in a closed jar is sweet and very well done. Both served with white and black homemade biscuits. That's a good dessert.

IMG_6826 The cheeses Maitre Lauxerrois brought with him from France this time:

  • Nuit d'Or
  • Munster, Alsace
  • Pont l'Eveque, Normandie
  • Langres, Champagne
  • Fondant d'Anjou
  • Reblochon, Haute Savoie
  • Set Maure, Touraine
  • Boulonnais
  • Charolais, Charolles
  • Butte de Doue, Ile de France
  • Livarot, Normandie
  • St Nectaire, Auvergne
  • Comte, Franche comte
  • Camembert, Normandie
  • Brie de Meaux, Ile de France
  • Fourme, Auvergne
  • Bleu d'Auvergne
  • Rochefort, Aveyron
  • Maroilles, Thierache

Claude_Lauxerrois_Cheese__Sydneys_Beirut09

I loved at Sydney's:
  • The thick grey table cloth and table setup
  • The fine musical background
  • The welcoming of the staff
  • The mix between modernism and old furniture combined
The minuses:
  • Is it acceptable to choose the cheapest of white wines at a fine dining event like this one? Don't Maitre Lauxerrois cheeses deserve better?
  • White wine was not in a bucket. We had to drink it warm
  • Service can be much better. Or at least I expected better from Sydney's. A lot of knowhow is missing
  • My last lunch experience was extraordinary... I hope that tonight's food was simply a mistake
If maitre Lauxerrois visits again, I'll be the first to attend, and you should to, enjoying some of France's finest produces rare to find in our country.
Categories: Restaurants French Reviews



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