Noura, one of the most popular Lebanese restaurants in Paris is now cooking at the newly opened Beaugrenelle Mall in the heart of the French capital. What is considered a reflection of our queue food, an ambassador of our culinary heritage turned out to be the most disappointing experience I've had in ages. Today's experience was really shameful. Although many French people may not read this post, but I decided to write things as they happened hoping that some improvement would be made soon.
As you enter the panorama building of Beaugrenelle, a shocking strong odour of grilled fat and cooked onions welcomes you. Smoke and smells provided by Noura haunt the building and bizarrely, the neighbors don't seem to be complaining. We chose Noura for lunch and stood in line waiting to be seated while the smell of burned fat embraced our clothes in style.
Unfortunately for them, and while waiting, my eyes took their sweet time to look around and see how things are being prepared. All I can say here is that I truly hope for their sake that no one from the Minister of Health will make a surprise visit.
A chef standing behind the drinks bar prepares the plates as if he's at a scout camp. With his large spoon, he removes hummus from the plastic container and throws it on the plate with a splash (just look at the pictures). Plates then travel from one hand to another to reach the hungry consumer few meters away who's not aware of anything. Behind the bar is a room, kind of kitchen filled with a mix of food and detergents. On the wall, shelves hosts hundreds of ingredients. Detergents are on the third level and food is just under it. Food safety is far from being respected in here.
The place described:
- A cafeteria style filled with people
- A fast food corner to the right with two huge shawarma displays. They look more t\Turkish to me than Lebanese
- The restaurant at the end of the corridor seats more than a hundred guests
- A display of Lebanese sweets occupies the left side. A display with no employee behind to sell or help guests. On the right side, what is supposed to be a bar with its coffee machine, is taken over by a chef who sends preset plates to the dining area
The dining space is close to a Lebanese ambiance with a modern style:
- Beige/gold walls on the right side
- Metallic structures to the left side
- Mirror walls give the place a bigger feel
- At the end is a large dining space decorated in golden spirals and a pending gold chandelier
- A well lit space, natural daylight spells, and a view onto Seine River
- Dark tiles cover the floors filled with dark wooden tables
- Violet and grey individual sofas
- Grey ceiling overseas it all
- Nos Duo Mezzes (Hummus, Tabboule, Loubieh, Mousakaa, Samke harra, Stuffed vine leaves, Loubie, Bemiye...) 6,9euros
- Nos Salades (8 choices) 6,9 euros
- Nos Menus (Vegetarien, fraicheur, detente, vital) 7,5-12,9 euros
- Nos Sandwiches (Labne, makanek, taouk, kafta, sojok, chawarma...) 5,9-6,5 euros
- Nos Pizzas (not the Italian ones, but our local baked ones on round bread: Manakeesh, Arayess, Kellage, Lahme Beajine) 5,9-6,9 euros
- Nos Accompagnements 5,9-6,9 euros
- Nos Desserts 1,75-5,9 euros
Lunch started with a basket of lebanese bread. And we waited for the interesting stuff to arrive... A big deception.
Let's eat some Lebanese food in Paris:
- The bread is way too thick and chewy. It should be thinner. It's definitely more profitable for them if prepared thinner. It's tastier if thin and won't fill you up in a second. If France can't provide it, it's better to get it imported from Lebanon
- Halloum is yellow. More of a kachkaval cheese. Nothing to do with ours. It's hard, dry, salty and not tasty. Who told them that halloum should be covered with olive oil? Yeah, the best way to cover its shameful taste and color
- Stuffed grape vines are way too salty
- Labneh: maybe it's better they change its name to sour cream... without salt and without acidity, this white thing is inedible
- Sambousik are too fatty and too soggy. The meat is minced so much that it feels like a purée. It's unpleasant to chew.
- The lahme beajine is soaked in water and fat. It's horrible! Disgusting
- The shawarma: I must laugh! That watery meat in a plate with no seasoning and an overdose of vinegar. The lowest quality meat ever
- The hummus: No comment
- The hummus with meat: Unacceptable! A hummus plate filled with dry meat and bathing in a sauce of fat or margarine
- Tabboule: Bof! Nothing to write home about
One single plate is acceptable: Moujadara.
And we ended up eating moujaddara today despite its unpleasant look. All the rest is a shame and doesn't reflect the richness and tastiness of Lebanese cuisine. Dear French citizens, if you are reading this article, please do not judge us. Our food is way better. Imagine that I've eaten better Lebanese food in Algeria and Tunis.
- The menu is rich and varied (That's the only plus)
- Service was being made from the bar. A chef standing in front of the coffee machine sends the plates while shouting and swearing in Arabic
- The display of desserts was unattended to
- The smells are unbearable as unacceptable and stick to your clothes all day long
- The waiters work so quickly that they tend to forget about the minimal hygienic rules and any sense of professionalism
- All the plates are not clean and have a thin layer of fat on them
- Tables should have placemats or paper covers to feel cleaner
- Floors are dirty and unhygienic
- An overall lack of cleanliness and hygiene
Why? Why this massacre to the Lebanese heritage? I am sure that the owners are not aware of the mess being created here...