July 12, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

The Sunset Iftar at Khaymet Burj El Hamam: Moevenpick Hotel Beirut
Fine Dining


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 6/10

Ambiance / Music: 3/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 12/30

Architecture / Interior: 6/10

Food presentation: 6/10

Service: 4/10

Value for money: Soon

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Ramadan has started and with it come dozens of tents located in different parts around the country. These tents serve as a place for families and friends to meet up for Iftar and Souhour. We often wonder where to go, who offers the best food, is the ambiance nice, is the food generous, are there enough choices... and definitely price vs service. Although, I can't promise you that I will visit them all, but I will do my best to give you an overview of what's happening around our city. Iftar_Khaymet_Burj_Hamam_Moevenpick_Beirut008

At the Moevenpick Hotel Beirut, Burj Al Hamam restaurant has moved down the sea shores where a huge Khayma has opened its doors to welcome you during the month of Ramadan. Reach the hotel, and instead of taking your left towards the lobby, continue down towards the seaport where the valet company will take care of your car.


The place described:

  • Down on the seashores facing the marina is an enormous white tent you cannot miss
  • A huge open space with high ceiling, covered with white fabrics making that makes it look like a real tent
  • Crystal chandeliers decorate the space, while a couple of colorful oriental glass lanterns add a touch
  • Beige concrete covers the floor
  • Long square tables, placed in a crescent shape are surrounded by golden chairs covered in dark blue cushions
  • Two round tables only, for small groups who like to have a face to face chat. Ask for tables 19 and 21
  • Around the stage, 11 tables with blue sofas will make your souhour time last longer
  • A one man show playing Oud stands in the middle of this open space
  • A long buffet on the right side next to the entrance and another at the left end
  • Two dessert buffets, one on each side of the restaurant

The schedule:

  1. 07:30 people start arriving
  2. 07:55 Iftar officially starts
  3. 08:20 Oud launches its repertoire
  4. 08:45 Opening of the tent's windows
  5. 08:50 Many started to smoke
  6. 09:00 It is Arguile time
  7. 10:00 Iftar ends leaving place for the Souhour


Starters Mezzes:

  • Dried fruits in a wood box
  • Pickles mix
  • Stuffed grape vine leaves
  • Hummos
  • Baba Ghannouj
  • Fatayer
  • Hendbe
  • A vegetable platter
  • Homemade fresh Lebanese bread


The Buffet:

  • Grilled whole Loukoz Fish
  • Rkakat cheese
  • Fried Kebbeh
  • Hommos Awarma
  • Sautéed Prawns Curry
  • Daoud Bacha
  • Kibbeh Labnieh
  • White Rice
  • Chicken Biryani
  • Vegetables Lasagna
  • Stuffed sheep with meat and rice


The dessert buffet:

  • Fried Katayef
  • Osmaliyeh
  • Foret Noir cake
  • Aish AL Saray
  • Sheaybiyet
  • Halawat el Jeben
  • Ashata
  • Kelaj Ramadan
  • Baklava
  • Exotic fruits tarts
  • Fresh fruits: Watermelon, melon, cherry
  • Chocolate mousse cake


Iftar started with two kinds of soups, Lentil and chicken followed with some appetizers and the self service buffet.

To tell you the truth, I was expecting much more from Burj El Hamam and specially from the five stars its hosted in - Moevenpick. The food was not as good as it should be. Without going into the boring details, but some of the things I experienced were not great: I couldn't help but notice that the fattoush is not fresh and lacks seasoning, the hummus is flooded with garlic, the cheese rolls are cold, oily and spongy, the kebbe contains more berghol than meat and crumbles in pieces before even reaching your mouth, the kebe inside the laban is empty and tastes pure borghol, the kafta balls are too dry, the tajen misses snoubar and the stuffed sheep rice is more of a puree as much as it is coked... to name a few. On another hand the awarma is good and from a premium quality, the fish is fresh and tasty and the shrimps curry well done. As for the desserts, it is an even bigger mess than the food. As it was laid over the buffet at 07:15, all its ingredients became watery, losing all their freshness. The kellage tastes nothing like the real one, the eclair is so amateur, the Lebanese sweets are way too sweet, the halewet el jeben should be named something else because it is far from the original taste ... Unfortunately, the list doesn't seem to have an end.


The pluses:

  • Lovely decoration
  • Beautiful table setup
  • A very generous buffet and a wide choice of food

I was not expecting to eat fine dining food, but a minimum reflecting the hotel's name and reputation was expected. Even though everybody is hungry, that does not mean they should eat whatever. For $45 - drinks not included, add to that 10,000LL for the valet, this Iftar is not worth it. They should work on improving themselves. At 9pm, we started sweating and suffocating as the windows opened... And they expect you to stay for souhour?

Suitable For: Fine Dining





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