February 27, 2016 Beirut Lebanon

Salt Gourmet: A Culinary Experience at Beirut's Airport

RATING:85/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 8/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 28/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: 6/10

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How many times have you passed this restaurant what hour giving it any particular attention. How many times have we criticized the prices? How many times have we considered Salt a simple cafe when food has an important part on the menu? Today, leaving to Dubai, I made it a point to arrive an hour earlier and eat at Salt. Salt has some really good food one should consider stopping by for.

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It's called "Salt" and it's located on the first floor of Beirut International Airport. A cafe/restaurant that has been open for the last 10 years. A professional staff, beautiful fridges, a Japanese selection and sandwiches. Other than that, look out for the dessert selection created by Charles Azar, MTV's famous pastry chef.

A large restaurant with a view of the tarmac has a large bar surrounded by round and square tables and their camel leather sofas. Local or French water, bites, lunch or dinner, the restaurant is open 24/7. 

The menu offers a selection of breakfast choices, pastries and cakes, afternoon tea, appetizers, a gourmet selection, hot selection, salads, a cheese platter, sandwiches, sushi, hot beverages, cold beverages, beer, alcoholic drinks and whisky.

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Let's start with a breakfast idea:

  • The croissant is breathtaking, literally amazing LBP7,000: This croissant contains more than 90% pure butter, the highest of qualities, baked to perfection with lots of love and dedication, airy inside, it offers a flaky envelope and a warm, moist and flavorful heart. A must try croissant. The cheese has an interesting flavor and Zaatar adds the needed acidity. An experience.
  • Acai smoothie bowl with coconut yogurt LBP16,000: A bowl filled with a purple mix and covered with bananas, strawberries and blueberries. A decoration of peanuts adds an oriental touch to it. With that they serve an organic maple syrup that's low in sugar. A refreshing and healthy bowl I recommend before a morning flight. Honestly, I didn't expect to try something as good in the airport.
  • Chia porridge with almond milk LPB16,000: As fresh as it looks, chia seeds covered with watermelon seeds and decorated with raspberries and blueberries. The almond milk, the latest trend, adds smoothness and creaminess.

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Now for lunch:

  • Antipasto Chicken LBP24,000: Grilled chicken breast, artichoke, pepperonata, sundried tomatoes on ciabatta bread. A local bread -the finest there is, a very thin envelope crunches in style, an airy heart and the ingredients blended well to create a sandwich that has an interesting texture and flavor while providing a colorful feel. Tasty and recommended it is.
  • Salmon fennel carpaccio LBP35,000: Salmon, fennel, cucumber, spring onions, soya sauce, toasted sesame seeds, lime, dill, coriander. Salmon cut in thin slices covered with sesame and laying on a bed of cucumbers and fennel. You don't expect this at the airport for sure. A bit less soy, if they use the green low sodium one it will be perfect.
  • French fries LBP10,000, served in a metallic bowl, they use the most expensive brand on the market. An American brand served with Heinz ketchup on the side. Yellow, simply yellow, no brown lines and no crunch, tender inside out and tasty.
  • Green roasted hummus with roasted red pepper sandwich LBP18,000: A brown bread with a mix of greens. Green mashed hummus with kale and peppers. A dream for a healthy eater.

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The Japanese cuisine:

  • Sushi cake LBP25,000: Fresh avocados, well balanced non-sticky rice without any sweetness, crab sticks and a mix of salmon cubes and crisps. Mango adds color and sweetness. Look great, tastes awesome!
  • Crispy marinated salmon salad LBP26,000: Salmon, crispy, Japanese mayo and soya sauce. Wow, wow, wow. Yes, believe it, superb sushi is available at the airport. Large cubes of salmon perfectly marinated in Japanese mayo, fresh crisps and fresh greens. 
  • The Maki rolls: Wait! Take a minute to enjoy those rolls. Rice as good as it should be, firm and not sweet, fresh fish, light mayo and taste. I've had sushi at hundreds of restaurants locally and believe me "Salt" is in my Top10.
  • Unagi eel, crab sticks, tuna sushi all are delicious. Again, rolled with style and know how.
  • Temaki LBP16,000: Nothing negative can be said about them.
  • Sushi at "Salt" made me want to travel more.

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Food is delicious. Yes, I agree about the prices, but the rent is way too expensive! It's not the restaurant's fault, but the airport's management.

Desserts at Salt:

  • In partnership with the master himself, Salt proposes a selection of fine cakes created by Chef Charles Azar. The desserts look like pieces of art, beautiful cakes few restaurants have.
  • The chocolate eclair is a masterpiece: A beautiful cake made of three families of chocolate. An outer dark chocolate ganache, a tender chocolate cream heart and a moist dough. Dacquoise noisette, chocolate mousse using dark chocolate, with a creamy caramel top. A rectangular shaped cake with a sticky biscuit and topped with a simple recipe. Macbounty: A long macaroon standing on a chocolate support, a crunchy macaroon with a heart of milk chocolate. Almond Sablé with almond cream, pastry cream and red fruits. Chef Charles doesn't cease to amaze me.
  • Indeed a beautiful experience I'll surely repeat.

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I've previously written a review about CafeMatic and Balkoumi, which are run by the same owners. At Salt, the breakfast experience was memorable so I stopped for a cake.

After check in: The flourless cake. A round cake served in an individual box is lighter than butter. A heart of dark chocolate melts in style, a delicious cake with perfect packaging to take with you on the plane. This cake made me change my mind even more about the airport coffee shop. It is expensive, one can't deny it, but it's worth trying it out for the quality of ingredients, the chefs who prepare the food and the superb taste.

Yes it is expensive because the rent is unbelievably expensive... but it is worth every penny.




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