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So Kempinski, one of the world's most prestigious hotel brands has opened its latest resort in Beirut. After visiting the hotel's Lebanese restaurant down at the Pier, I am back to try their all day dining area 'Candelabra' where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served every day.
Arrive at the hotel lobby and walk down the stairs towards ground level, facing the pool. You will find a wide space with a high ceiling that connects the restaurant to the lobby. Atmospheric music plays in the background, putting you in the mood. The place boasts simple decor with marble tables and leather chairs blending beautifully to add a touch of luxury to this fresh restaurant. White marble, soft yellow lighting on one side and natural light on the other, natural wood and finally photos decorating the walls.
We were welcomed by a hostess who showed us our table by the glass doors.
On the menu is a selection of starters, appetizers, main course dishes and desserts. Ten starters from Lebanon and inspired by the sea, Lebanese mezze appetizers, three soups, four sandwiches, ten main courses - one of which being a Lebanese mixed grill - and seven desserts.
We ordered for lunch:
- King crab salad: cucumber, tomato, celery, watercress, cilantro, and lemon honey dressing.
- Homemade foie gras with fig chutney, with warm brioche.
- Burrata: Heirloom tomatoes, aged balsamic vinegar, organic olive oil.
- Seal house burger: Parmesan bun, cheddar, crispy pancetta, lettuce, tomato, and onion relish.
- Black Angus rib eye: capsicum, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, oyster mushroom and baked baby potato.
Lunch started with bread presented on a wooden board; white baguette and whole grain buns, toasted grissini and sliced walnut bread. They have a good baker here. Enjoy the truffle butter and olive tapenade to accompany.
Before going on to detail this enjoyable lunch, I must briefly praise the professionalism of the staff and the beauty of the plates: bravo!
- Burrata presented with cherry tomatoes of two colors, frizé lettuce, lines of balsamic and olive oil. Fresh salad surrounds the burrata and cream pours out as it is cut. I enjoyed the quality ingredients used and the flavors that were delivered.
- The fresh crab salad is awesome! Loaded with juicy fresh crab mixed in a lemony and fruity sauce. Every crunch adds value and with every ingredient you approach perfection. A beautiful plate covered with thinly sliced cucumbers, diced pomelo, watercress and an enjoyable lemony and sweet sauce.
- Bravo chef for this awesome foie gras. Homemade foie gras cooked in house served with chutney nibbles and a basket of soft bread lightly toasted to a pleasing crunch.
Then for the main plates:
- An appealing-looking burger where colorful layers are placed one on top of the other. A brioche Parmesan bun, a piece of thick and juicy meat, melted yellow cheddar, cocktail sauce, tomato and bacon. Good quality meat, peppered to perfection, a fluffy bun, the appropriate amount of sauce and fries on the side. Crispy and warm fries with the skin left on.
- The meat! Simply excellent. Very juicy, served hot with a red heart. Cooked to perfection, this piece of meat amazes you. Yummy indeed. Served with a vegetable Mille feuille and baked potato. I finished the entire plate.
Lunch was excellent and to top things off, I enjoyed some exquisite desserts... when Chef Pierre Abi Haila is in the kitchen, expect to be amazed. I am a big fan of his delicious desserts.
- I tried a piece of chocolate cake, a piece of tangerine crisp and a green apple tart. Three sumptuous desserts beautifully presented. Your senses are activated the minute you set eyes on them, but your heart will skip a beat the minute a bite enters your mouth.
- I loved the dark chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse, crunchy chocolate petals and crumbly biscuits. I adored the orange colored cake; its crunchy citrus biscuits and tangerine cream decorated with crunchy meringues. I appreciated the refined yet over the top apple tart; like nothing you’ve had before. Desserts were the cherry on top of this meal.
I honestly wasn't expecting to enjoy lunch this much. Tasty ingredients, professional staff and dishes that delight the eye, in a calm restaurant. Try the Candelabra restaurant for a cozy dinner, a business meeting or simply a gathering with friends.
A note you may wish to know:
- Price: $85/person, which is a bit too much for an all day dining restaurant located at a hotel. This price doesn't include alcohol.
- The hotel now works as an exchange office; expect to pay charges when paying in dollars. I was shocked by the LBP4,000 charged on the bill which is far from being a Kempinski standard. $1=LBP1,500 and not LBP1,480. It's honestly a cheap way of searching for profit. Unfortunately, Lebanon's hotels have learned this from each other.