December 11, 2013 Hamra & Verdun Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Clé: A Lounge-Bar-Restaurant with Interesting Tasty Offerings (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961 71 200 712

Address: El Hamra, Route Mohammad Abdel Baki, Cle , Beirut, Lebanon


Price Range: 30-45 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 8/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 23/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: Soon

Clé, French for key as well as the first syllable of the word Clemenceau, the area that hosting this unique restaurant, Clé. Located in the heart of Beirut, the restaurant has an extensive international menu that mixes French and Italian bites with Japanese fusion along with simple palatable twists that have kept patrons coming for more since opening this summer.  Cle_Beirut_Restaurant_NoGarlicNoOnions46 I have visited Clé a few months ago to shoot the details of this restaurant that truly stand out... Now I'm back for the food. The 450 square-meter space enjoys a garden that plays home to age old trees. The eclectic mix of furniture that include original and handpicked pieces from flea markets distributed in the different rooms this restaurant enjoys. Other more modern details like the wooden bar stencil designs blend in nicely with a rusty fireplace, leather chairs, huge chandeliers, wall paper frames... Facing Najjar hospital, Clé, originally a house, is an interesting restaurant-bar which won the Timeout Awards in 2012 for Best Bar Food. So, let's see what do they have to offer.

Choose between the inner seating in a bar ambiance or decide to sit on the terrace in a green casual ambiance under the trees. A soothing place that transports you out of Beirut's chaotic trend. Under the trees, surrounded by a beautiful colorful decoration, visiting this place for lunch makes sense.
The place described:
  • Enter the place to be welcomed by a bar displaying cakes and bakery goods by Gustav
  • Inside is a squarish place where a large bar occupies the middle
  • Wood is everywhere
  • A long wall to the left is decorated with greenery and warm lights adding freshness to the place
  • A small balcony before going down to the terrace filled with tables from different sizes and shapes
  • Colors is what this place is known for, with chairs, tables and decorative items decorating the place
  • All tables are decorated with black leather placemats and a flower pot in the middle
Cle_Beirut_Restaurant_NoGarlicNoOnions26 The lunch menu:
  • Appetizers
  • Sandwiches
  • Asian inspiration
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Mains
  • Side dishes
Lunch started with a basket of fresh crunchy baguette offered with homemade tapenade to enjoy while we looked into the menu.
We ordered:
  • Tangy shrimps (shrimp tempura topped with black sesame seeds, chives, served with a spicy sauce23,000L.L : Served in a martini cup those shrimps are the place's accustomed favorite. Mixed with mayonnaise, every shrimp is perfectly cooked and covered with a crunchy envelop. The spicy aftertaste is intense hot; You better be to prepared for it. This creation contains a bit too much mayonnaise for my taste but has an overall interesting flavor you'll enjoy. Pay attention, these shrimps are not for the faint at heart: You have to adore spicy things. When you think the experience is done, sesame seeds come to add more flavors. They reminded me of Caramel Dubai shrimps.
  • Crunchy Salmon Avocado Maki Roll (a delicious wrap filled with fresh salmon, avocado, rice, dried komku, carrots) 25,000L.L : Beautifully presented on a long plate with sushi pieces setup in a straight line. Each piece is created out of adequately cooked rice topped with mayonnaise. It has a lemony aftertaste. For a non-Japanese place, these rolls are very good and better than many Asian restaurants around the city. They use generous pieces of salmon in the middle. Nice and tasty.
  • Mango Chicken Sandwich (curry, chicken, mango, rocket, with creamy curry sauce) 13,000L.L : The bread, provided by Prunelle is excellent. Inside a tender premium sandwich, is a generous filling of tender chicken and mango slices that make all the difference. Unfortunately, the mayonnaise problem follows you all around. Due to the excess use of mayonnaise, your taste buds will not have the time to appreciate the content of the sandwich.
  • Seafood Risotto (perfect ardent arborio rice, with shrimp, calamari and mussels tossed in a pink sauce, topped with Parmesan shavings) 26,000L.L: The risotto was served overcooked, lacking sauce. I asked the waiter to change the plate as I showed him on the menu notes stating that the Arborio rice used is cooked "aldente". 15 minutes afterwards it was changed and presented as it should have been the first time round. In the second plate, the crunchiness and freshness of the seafood was clearly felt in the bath of sauce.
  • Beefy Affair (Grilled beef, rocca, tomatoes & pickles with pesto sauce) 22,000L.L: Inside a soft and tender tasty bread thin slices of non chewy meat, soft and tender, melting under your teeth like butter, are mixed with premium ingredients and fresh vegetables. A lovely and tasty creation I fully recommend specially for its unique mushroom sauce, but unfortunately mayonnaise is still prominent like all the other dishes around
  • Apple Shakedown 10,000L.L : A beautiful mouthwatering piece of cake. Pastry dough filled with apple crumbles, apple bites, covered with sugar powder. Very crunchy! A dessert hosting interesting textures. I love Gustav's creations...
  • Red Velvet Cake 6,000L.L : Yumm! Mouthwatering! Soft and moist red cake covered in white chocolate. I love how the white chocolate has a long lasting aftertaste.
Cle_Beirut_Restaurant_NoGarlicNoOnions40 I would change:
  • Have some uniforms for the staff
  • Use less mayonnaise in all the dishes
In a pleasant atmosphere, in the heart of Beirut, you can pass by for lunch or dinner and discover a place like no other in Beirut, combining tasty food with an experience of a bar and restaurant. You'll surely enjoy your time in here like I did.





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