A unique invitation, an honor, I was one of the lucky few to have dinner at the French ambassador's residence down in Beirut, the famous Residence des Pins; in celebration of Air France's first class coming back to Beirut.
We were welcomed in the saloons of the ambassador's quarters where a welcome drink was offered. This beautiful palace is breathtaking...
After that, dinner was served in the adjacent room. The French ambassador took the floor to remind us all, that the Lebanon we know today was created in a document signed here on the stairs of the Residence in the 1920s. A reminder of the Air France story and its connections to Lebanon followed.
The Air France team took over, introducing La Premiere, which was stopped back in 2012. Lebanon is a very important route for Air France and is considered one of the 15 best destinations on the La Premiere route, this is why they are back.
Starting September, expect the new Boeing 777-300, one of the world's biggest and most modern planes, to land in Beirut.
Dinner was heating up. Inside this large saloon, old, from the last century, a dozen round tables were perfectly set to welcome almost a hundred guests. A full set of cutlery, four glasses, a bread plate and a centerpiece of red roses added a touch of finesse. That night was not just any dinner, but a chance to taste and experience the capabilities of the French Residence’s kitchen.
In this mythic residence, dinner was served with wine offered by the Fawaz family.
Pinot Gris 2012 from Domaine Ostertag was served. A fruity, light, floral and fresh wine I remember tasting last year at an Italian restaurant in Mar Mikhael in the presence of the wine maker.
Before starting, let me tell you that the bread served oozed with French vibes. Aromatic, moist and full of taste; l loved it.
Foie gras terrine of duck with morals and a chutney of red cabbage with a toasted brioche. A large piece of tender foie gras served with gelatin and a chunk of sweet red cabbage as well as a finger of crunchy sesame puff pastry bread. The foie gras’ quality was very good and wish I knew who the supplier was.
Pouilly fume Domaine Dagueneau 2013 followed. A bottle of white wine with character.
Fish bream filet, pan-fried with two kinds of bell pepper. A beautifully decorated plate, that reminded me of a fine dining restaurant, where a piece of fish, tender and juicy lay majestically next to a set of decorative items each adding a plus to the plate. The green broccoli was a bit cold, a chewy maize flour polenta and a potato purée cube served warm, not hot enough. The sauce was delicious and the fish perfectly cooked, but the rest could have been handled differently or prepared more freshly. I like the dried tomato hidden behind the round galette, though.
That was dinner, two plates, a starter and a main dish and dessert was ready to make its entry. Couldn't one more plate be added?
Opera version allegee: A nine layered cake, firm on some levels and tender on others, juicy and full of taste using one fine chocolate. I liked its texture and taste, a mouthwatering creation I'll remember for a long time. The plate is decorated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, one I really liked especially since I don't like sugary ice creams, mint leaves, chocolate chunks and a chocolate syrup. That's a good one indeed.
A generous party we all enjoyed leaving with a gift distributed to the ladies, a passport cover branded with Air France’s logo, a book about the company and a bottle of special edition Chivas whisky for the gentlemen.
I was so happy to attend such an exclusive event as well as tasting the creations of the embassy’s kitchens.
Now that we have an idea of La Premiere, its services and quality, we still have to try it up in the air... Hopefully that will happen soon.