I'll tell you a story, the story of a place, a small hole in the wall that offers a tiny selection of Lebanese specialties prepared a la minute. Today, I was having lunch with my friends.
Down on Mar Mikhael is Moutabbal, the Lebanese street eatery with a small menu of vegetarian plates, meat dishes, platters and Mezza. Come here for a sandwich or a platter, use their bar and two tables or simply grab and go. Two chefs roll those sandwiches one at a time while enriching the space with grilling smells.
A Lebanese lunch is not a Lebanese lunch without a hummus, a plate of these majestic mashed chickpeas mixed with lemon and olive oil. A light bodied hummus with balanced flavors, olive oil and lemon. I like its acidity and smoothness. Hummus is always paired with a plate of moutabbal, moutabbal mashed by hand, a bit of lemon, olive oil and those textures that tickle your palate in style.
And the journey continues, now that hummus and Moutabbal passed, the appetizers or appetite openers, it was salad time. Proudly Lebanese, tabbouleh and fattouch, those awesome Lebanese creations where simplicity is mixed to amaze. Tabbouleh is a unique salad the world envies us for and the fattouch, as simple as it looks, always makes you smile.
The big surprise followed: A beautiful plate of many vegetables laid one next to the other, grilled to perfection and seasoned to the utmost deliciousness. Grilled potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms. A crunch, an explosion, and texture. Lemon and olive oil, pepper and coriander, a selection of vegetables, half a kilo of it, all of which is sold for LBP20,000.
It's interesting to be able to try all the sections on one plate. After the vegetarian comes the meat platter. Kafta that's tender and doesn't have much parsley, soujok with a hard crunchy envelope, a meat that's so tender and so rich and tawouk, juicy and flavorful. A lovely plate, a kilogram sold at LBP50,000.
I tried all the menu, platters and starters and left feeling light and fulfilled at the same time.