September 26, 2014 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Roadster Diner: Trying the Light Section… Beirut City Centre

Phone Number: 1585

Address: Zalka main road, Jal El Dib, Metn, Lebanon


Price Range: 35-65 $


Welcoming: 3/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 8.5/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 17/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 7/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: 6/10

Amidst Roadster’s large and varied menu, sits a light or healthy choice... Walking through Beirut City Centre, we stopped at Roadster for a family lunch. We didn’t feel like eating diner food, we weren’t after fries or fat burgers, so why not give the light menu a try?


The Beirut City Centre branch, like all Roadster restaurants, is a piece of art. Enter through the glass door and you’re welcomed by the bar, a funky bar occupying the left side of the restaurant where "Together Forever" is imprinted on top. Orange and light blue walls add a touch of freshness to the space, both decorated with posters and signs from the 1950’s. A large neon sign, with the words "Back to the 50's", lights up the main wall facing the high glass facade.

Come in, where three private tables follow the main wall and a large dining area, fitted with black reflective tables, is decorated with a bunch of leather chairs, both red and blue. These days, Roadster’s concept is to broadcast music videos live, adding ambiance, in the Beirut City Centre branch two LCD TVs help do that.


The first impression is not the finest. The welcoming feels fake: A hostess is a bit rough, the staff is clumsy and more than 12 employees fill up the space using up some much-needed oxygen. Grouped in four, each party occupies a corner, while chitchatting about their personal stories... while showing a lack of enthusiastsm towards their job. If not all 12 are needed, then maybe they should hide until customers fill up the tables.

Things started to get better as a set of pencils and a kid’s booklet was handed to my little one. A book of a dozen pages, with the kid’s menu alongside a selection of games, made my girl so happy that day. Order a kid's meal and get a free scoop of ice cream.

Let's have lunch:

  • The Salmon salad: I'll say it as it is: The salmon is inedible. I'm sorry to say that way, but there are good salmon dishes and less pleasant ones... but the one we had that day was simply inedible. Smelly, salty and with a bizarre aftertaste like the smell of a seaport... In Arabic (ta3mto zankha). A single bite and we were done.


  • The Turkey sandwich is simply excellent: The sandwich bread is provided by Delifrance, the company which sells French baguettes at your supermarket entrance. A fine baguette, fresh and crunchy, and generously filled with a layer of cream cheese, turkey and vegetables. The mix is just perfect, as is the taste. A strong, lemony freshness erupts as you bite into the lemon chunks leaving an interesting aftertaste of lemon.


  • Burger: I love the bun, as always, one of the finest in town, perfectly crafted by Prunelle, covered with a tasty sauce but unfortunately made with Roadster's conventional patty, which is not up to the standard of the other ingredients. Roadster's conventional meat is too commercial and too condensed. Since the sauce masks the unpleasant taste, you can enjoy the burger, guilt free. PS: The new Angus burgers are way better.


  • The Kid’s meal: A perfectly crafted kid’s meal, a burger that's smaller in size, with no sauces to spill. A smaller patty and bun, accompanied with a portion of French fries. Add ketchup at your convenience to make up for the strong grilled taste, which kids might not like. A commercial patty, but kids don't mind this detail.


  • Chicken strips: I couldn't eat them, unfortunately. They are marinated in garlic. A strong aroma many adore, but one that makes me sick. Thank you Roadster for not adding it to the bill.


My impressions of lunch:

We were served by Hussein, a joyful character and professional as well. He felt a certain dissatisfaction coming from our table, so he stayed around, refilling our glasses, joking with my daughter while making us feel at home.

The most annoying and unpleasant part were the restrooms. If Roadster was part of the mall, I would have accepted using the shopping center's restrooms. Roadster is on the terrace and to reach a restroom you have to walk fifty meters, in the rain and wind because Roadster wants to gain few more tables? I had to make this walk twice with my kid, thankfully under the sun, and would not wish to make that walk during winter. Use the restroom, and then come to Roadster.

Conclusion: Want to eat light? Go for the turkey sandwich or the crab sandwich I've had on my previous visit. 





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