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Lily’s: Feel Beirut While Enjoying Lunch
How great it is to wake up on an early Sunday morning and have breakfast in Beirut, I’ve been getting my kids used to waking up at 6 am every Sunday for a hefty breakfast around town or a sexy discovery in one of Lebanon’s villages. From Baskinta to Jounieh, passing by Faraya or in the heart of Beirut... spending a Sunday with my kids is priceless.
While winter prepares its entrance into town, we sat on the terrace living and enjoying the Carré d'Or of Beirut. I’ve been here for lunch, now back for breakfast; Lily’s opens from the early hours of the morning until midnight. I enjoyed my lunch, and wish I could say the same about breakfast...
Breakfast a la carte: eggs, poached eggs, omelet, and sandwiches. Labneh, pancakes, and waffles as well as the cake display you can choose from. Lily’s formula has the selection usually served at five-star hotels. Bizarrely, the poached eggs are not called “eggs Benedict.”
Owned by the same group of Cocteau, Avenue, and Sarail, Lily’s treats his guests with style; A table napkin, porcelain plates, a butter knife, and fine china. I can understand that it’s hard for employees to wake up early on a Sunday morning so that I won’t judge the service.
A basket of bread without butter or jam, flaky croissants with an unpleasant chewy finish; coffee without a side biscuit... let’s wait and see the main plates. After waiting for more than thirty minutes, we received the food: dramatic!
- Three stories hard-textured pain de mie served cold and stuffed with turkey and cold cheese. A lack of “Nafass”; where’s the butter, where are the flavors... that’s a 16,000LL sandwich after all! Street food stalls create better and tastier at half the price.
- Hard textured pancakes: a cake, not pancakes, sweet and not fluffy, crunchy and not tender, served with gooey maple syrup. I’ve had bad pancakes; this one wins the award of the “sweetest supermarket English cake.”
- Labneh: jewel of the table, old Saj bread with labneh inside... this “gourmet” wannabe sandwich is priced at 10,000LL. Come on! Couldn’t have you been creative? How about some tapenade, nice toasting, grilling lines, a dip on the side... anyway, I shouldn’t have ordered it anyway.
- Eggs, with a hollandaise sauce that is not present, over cooked and not moist eggs looking and tasting like boiled ones, on a bed of spinach and a fluffy muffin. So we sent the plate back to the kitchen and waited another fifteen minutes.
- The same order again: eggs are poached and not too hard, hollandaise needs more acidity and more body, the plate lacks salt, and the spinach is too hard needing more cooking. The verdict: not good!
Some serious changes are needed:
- Waiters don’t smile; only managers do.
- When you bring bread, at least get butter with it.
- Coffee is the main morning item: waiters should visit again and ask for a refill or another round.
- Let’s revisit the menu to be up to Lily’s standard and pricing.
- Music? The vibes are dull and negative.
What I felt is that the restaurant is managed by a professional staff but unfortunately the morning chef knows nothing about food passion and love. There is no life in his plates, no “Nafass”; he’s probably in the wrong restaurant. Let’s go have a decent breakfast somewhere else :)