CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Burgundy Restaurant & Wine Bar, Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon: "The Restaurant"
Burgundy: When the Master Chef Creates
Walk into a calm, peaceful and serene dark space, that's lightly lit. Listen to the faded music in the background, people's whispers... Look around and see the bar and its action, while the owner walks around the tables with a large smile on his face and professional hostesses that welcome you in with style and character... I'm back at "The Restaurant", back at Burgundy.
As I said before, Burgundy's success is no mistake, and if the Michelin institution had expanded to Lebanon and the Middle East, Burgundy would have gotten one star for sure.
I'm back at Burgundy, back to perfection, back to enjoy the last days of the old menu while a new one is being carefully prepared by no other than Chef Youssef Akiki himself.
Last time, we were seated at the bottom of the restaurant under the glass facade next to the kitchen entrance, but tonight we had the table right next to the entrance, A table with a different view of the restaurant. This special table is surrounded with three walls of black wood for a cozier feel and more intimate dining, and I enjoyed the details of architecture; the eight big lanterns hanging from the arcade ceiling, the black stone floor, the long bar with its designer wooden chairs and this black feel, all relaxing without being claustrophobic. It's pure class!
As soon as you take your seat, you are asked what kind of water you prefer. Even water is served with style. Since I previously wrote a detailed review about Burgundy, I tried as much as I could to enjoy tonight's dinner while only taking a couple of notes. Allow me to start with the details of perfection. Waiters at burgundy speak perfect French. The service is impeccable, so women are served first, older men follow, while I came last being the youngest at the table. They make sure the bread plate is always full. Plates arrive from the right side and leave from the left... These details and so much more making the experience flawless.
The table setup is one great first impression. Perfectly set, the table and its unique cutlery and plates also feature Frette tablecloths.
While waiting to be served, crunchy slices of bread topped with black truffles were offered. In a square of marble a slice of bread lies majestically, airy fluffy, toasted bread soaked in oil and topped with thinly sliced black truffles. Majestic is the least that can be said. It starts with the aromas before you even get to the textures and it ends with the smile that paints your face without you even noticing.
Bread, I have to tell you about the bread. Bread is the only thing not produced in house, but the way it's cut, the way it's presented, the way it's heated... The bread is superb - a thick, crunchy envelope protecting a moist heart that's fresh and ready to amaze, especially the olive bread. The shocking part is that it's from Paul; Burgundy manages to turn Paul's chewy bread into something very enjoyable.
Amuse bouche followed. Thinly sliced salmon served with a yuzu vinaigrette. A superb piece of art served on a round plate where three portions of salmon are decorated with radish and chives, with a line of orange sauce. Not only beautiful, but simply delicious.
Dinner was served:
- Artichokes served in a plate are cut in quarters topped with lemons and chives. Add to that sliced radish, pomegranate, fresh greens and drops of hazelnut vinaigrette sauce, what's supposed to be a simple salad is transformed into a piece of art. I loved how the artichoke is transformed into a purée and decorated with yellow kumquat and red drops.
- Crab, served on a round plate, is married with guacamole and fried like a tempura. Extremely crunchy chunks that are fresh and airy, served with a lemony sauce, sumac and fleurs de courgette.
- Filet de Rouget avec tomates en texture, purée et Artichaux: Super tender, the fish melts under your teeth like butter. An extremely soft texture with a light oily touch, offering a subtle crunchy envelope. A beautiful plate indeed, served with a smooth purée on the side, a purée that's not buttery and is intensively flavorful.
- The black cod fish is breathtaking. I have never had one this good before: Adequately sweet, super tender, beautifully decorated plate, cooked to perfection and served with bright vegetables on one side and noodles on the other - set in a cylindrical way. This plate is exceptional.
Just when we thought dinner was over, a surprise hit our table. Tartine aux Truffes noir... Served on white marble plate, a slice of baguette with crunchy borders and warm tender heart is topped with cold slices of black truffles. Generously loaded, this bite is a luxurious ticket to heaven. Truffles that crumble under the teeth while the bread melts and the olive oil flows around your tongue. Breathtaking! I though the experience was fine until a salty aftertaste exploded... Beautiful!
Before moving to desserts, we were offered some goat cheese bites topped with black truffles. Can I tease you and simply ask you to try them for yourself? They made my heart skip a beat.
Exactly like dinner, dessert was mouthwatering. Sorbet with almond biscuit, a soufflé that made me travel to the moon and back among other items I have tried on my last visit. The Balade is something special. Ready to impress, a glass is topped with four chocolate cones covered with cepe infused meringues that look like mushrooms with pastry cream and two choices of ice cream. Served warm, you can see the vapors from all sides. Four chocolate leaves, chocolate bits and chocolate cream, this is dessert that should not be missed.
We were also offered chocolate truffles, courtesy of the chef, crunchy chocolates with a melting heart that made my heart melt with them.
To say it again, "The Restaurant" has no close competition in Lebanon.
Youssef Akiki is the chef behind those magical plates, a man guided by passion, dedication and a love for food. My regards to you chef! You surely deserve to be awarded with the first Michelin star in Lebanon.