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éCafe Beirut: A Calm Restaurant up St. Nicolas’ Stairs
éCafe, a restaurant on Sursock street, is inspired by its original location in Jbeil's old souk, where the brand first became popular. Looking into the smallest of details, I enjoyed the interesting vibes this place gives out... Some details reflect the past, portraits on the walls show happy people, the tables are colorful and original. éCafe has a bar, a terrace and a main dining area.
The last time I was here was in March of 2015. I enjoy it here, the food, the mood and the fresh vibes.
Served by a professional waitress and a maître d'hôtel who seems to have toured half the country's restaurants, we sat for a calm dinner on a Thursday.
At the intersection of Sursock Street and the St. Nicolas Stairs is a representation of Byblos in Beirut. At éCafe you’ll find good food in a soothing ambiance.
- L'Escalier de L'Art, also known as the L'Escalier de Saint-Nicolas is a public stairway providing a pedestrian link between Rue Gouraud and Rue Sursock. Its proximity to the Sursock Museum and the Greek Orthodox Archbishopric of Beirut on Rue Sursock, make the 125 steps and 500-meter staircase, believed to be the longest in the region, a very popular destination for tourists visiting Beirut.
- Rue Sursock is a historic street named after one of Beirut's most prominent families, the street is home to many of Beirut's beautiful historic mansions that were built in the 18th and 19th century by aristocratic families such as Sursock and Bustros. A large gate was used to close down Rue Sursock at 10 pm, and this tradition remained until 1945.
The setup of the place: the restaurant is a blend of a bar and a restaurant with an architectural spirit that looks like a piano bar with a fresh ambiance. A large logo decorates the wall. Rectangular tables fill in the space. Old-style Lebanese tiles cover the floor, reminding us of the street's history. Green, blue, white and red, the place is very colorful. Violet chairs and some grey sofas surround the tables. Colorful cups decorate the tables with a complete set of cutlery. Four glass cups, a glass plate, almonds with Grissini biscuits and tapenade. The nuts are crunchy, the Grissini fresh and flaky.
A pianist plays in the background all night. Green magnum bottles, lit from the inside, add a touch of color to the corners. A central glass wall makes the place look bigger.
The menu: starters, salads, pasta, and risotto, tartines, grill, desserts, drinks.
- The details I loved: the warm decor fills the place, making it nice for intimate dinners.
- Designer wine glasses decorate the tables.
- The smoking law is respected.
- They use glass Sohat water bottles.
- Gentle and professional staff take care of everything.
- Interesting music is played here.
- Plates are big and generous.
Dinner started when a basket of bread and a plate of dips lands on the table. Crunchy fresh grissini, a one-of-a-kind pesto sauce mix with no garlic and warm lightly crunchy bread. I ordered Ixsir Grande Reserve 2013 with my dinner.
A delicious culinary experience:
- Lemon risotto with scamorza cheese, a generous portion of rice mixed with melted cheese, lemon and sprinkled with pepper. So yummy! Rice cooked al dente, an enjoyable smoky flavor, melted cheese, a subtle acidity and pepper as an end note. I loved the rice texture, the balance of ingredients and portion size. Bravo.
- Burrata in roquette juice. Burrata of fine quality served in a beautifully decorated plate with thinly sliced pears, grilled almonds and pesto sauce. It's a good one!
- Grilled asparagus with Parmesan in mustard sauce. Excellent asparagus, a delicious sauce, an interesting plate.
- The Foie Gras burger, a thick patty cooked medium, a pan-fried foie Gras, fresh mushrooms, caramelized onions and a sauce. The patty is excellent, the Foie Gras is even better but unfortunately the bread is not as fresh and fluffy as I expected it to be. I removed the bread and enjoyed this burger's exceptional heart. It's real meat, not condensed and not mixed with a hundred synthetic ingredients to make it firm. Bravo for such a quality.
- Super fries. I enjoyed them, their color, their saltiness and crunchy outer.
- Mussels in a creamy sauce; the family enjoyed them a lot.
- Paillard de veau; veal escalope, a large portion served with sauce on the side. Tender meat cooked adequately.
- Ice cream chocolate truffle balls, very good dark chocolate presented with meringue fingers and chocolate sauce. I loved the chocolate texture and the meringue's lightness. Yummy!
- Apple strudel; a thick slice made of puff pastry and stuffed with baked cinnamon apples. My favorite of the three. I felt transported to East Europe and back!
- Pain Perdu; baked in a metallic pan, the pain Perdu is made of bread cubes soaked in milk and butter, covered with caramel. I've had better.
I'd change one thing:
- The glass tables... black glass tables don't look too clean after a couple of minutes. Especially since every one's finger marks end up in relief. I would have preferred to eat over a table cloth.
It was a good experience I'll be repeating soon. We paid $60/person with a bottle of wine.
The food was good, the experience and the service were exceptional and as professional as they always are in all of their outlets across Lebanon.