For the last couple of decades, Chez Hilmi has been known for its famous lemonade drink. People would drive hours from all over Lebanon to visit Chez Hilmi and taste its renowned and tasty fresh juice. Staying tuned with the latest, Chez Hilmi upgraded their Lemonade to what is known as "Frisco" or the ice drink. An old man, who may be the owner of the place, serves the lemonade mixed with crushed ice (from a machine) served in a plastic cup.
Last week, passing through Batroun, I stopped by Chez Helmi curious to see what has become of it. The lemonade is tasty and fresh with a homemade feel. Every sip has a bitter feel of the lemon's zest, the adequate quantity of sugar creating a refreshing blend. I like it.
But is it worth driving all the way up to the Batroun for it? I personally don't think so! Chez Hilmi was renowned for a complete experience that is not there anymore. Today, you might pass by for a quick drink which costs 2,500L.L. In the past, people stopped by more often to taste Hilmi's desserts and pastries enjoyed on the terrace overseeing Batroun's busy street.
Today, an old guy just pours the prepared drink without saying a word, and that is all!