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Breakfast at The Lancaster Plaza Hotel
Daoud Basha, The Lancaster Plaza Hotel's Lebanese restaurant celebrated a pre-iftar enchanted by Lebanese tarab tunes where a handful of guests enjoyed an extensive array of oriental mezze with a twist, sizzling main dishes and grills in addition to a sumptuous Arabic and international desserts buffet.
During the holy month of Ramadan, guests will discover the true traditions at The Lancaster Plaza Beirut, from Iftar to Suhoor, with a feast of authentic Arabic and International delicacies and the finest hospitality. Dried fruits & dates assortment, choice of soups, cold & hot Lebanese mezze on table, a choice between four main courses as well as International & Lebanese delights buffet in a surrounding that echoes Lebanese influences.
Iftar was served:
- The bread is prepared in house, soft tender and tasty with a light yellow color. It doesn't crunch or break, even when cold. I liked it.
- Hummus: Nicely presented in a rectangular-shaped plate, the hummus looks like a serpent. It's not only special in shape, but tasty as well.
- Stuffed grapevine leaves: The twist is the way they're served. A bouquet of stuffed grapevine leaves rolled all together with a green onion and decorated with some mint leaves.
- The raw selection, served in the middle is made of chicken liver, meat, Kebbeh, habra with peanuts or sesame seeds.
- Muhammara: Three chunks of muhammara decorated with blocks of white cheese and topped with sliced almonds and crushed peanuts. It's not bad, but I've had better. The spices give it a bizarre taste and the chili is not spicy.
- Fattouch: Served in a bowl is puffed, fresh bread toasted to perfection. Inside is the salad. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, mint leaves and Roma lettuce. Fresh vegetables with some lemon and lots of sumac. I liked this one.
- Kebbeh with mixed nuts: A light colored kebbeh baked in its porcelain pot, two layers of it stuffed with a load of mixed nuts and pomegranate. A light textured kebbeh with an explosion of crunchy things within and a hint of sweetness the pomegranate adds. I'd dip it in hummus for even more fun, or use the spicy cherry sauce that comes with it.
- Makanek and soujok, served in metallic pots. Makanek mixed with small diced potatoes while the soujok is covered with melted cheese.
- Baba Ghannouj: Nice presentation, but dull taste. It needs lots of lemon, really lots of it, and maybe some tahina as well.
- The sambousik and kebbeh are as good as you'd expect.
- Meat ras asfour, shrimps provençal, spicy tomatoes, labneh with dried tomatoes and many other plates made it on the table, as well some which contained garlic and that I couldn't eat.
- Best for last: The panfried halloumi cheese slices. Thick halloumi cheese slices with a golden color served next to a bowl of fig jam. Four complete figs in their sugary juice. The crunch of this halloumi is amazing and the heart is molten and tender next to some sweet wonders. They're inspired by Falamanki's halloumi plate, but taste better.
After being delighted with the appetizers we ordered the main plates. Stuffed grapevine leaves with meat, heated chicken in markouk bread or kebbeh with laban. I ordered the vine leaves, a beautifully presented plate of five thick grapevine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat next to two lamb ribs. It's interesting to see local specialties presented with a fine dining touch.
- The chicken mousakhan was cold as ice. A mix of chicken chunks with grilled onions wrapped in a bread topped with sumac. The flavors are here, the temperature was not.
- Kebbeh with laban, served on a big round plate, are three pieces of kebbeh next to a bowl of laban. It starts with the color, which could be darker, and more appetizing, it needs less spices and a bit more borghol, but the rest is good. It has the potential to be very good indeed.
I couldn't try them all, but the dessert table was awesome. Amazing, mouthwatering colors of extravagant wonders created by no other than chef Charles Azar himself. A table of innovative creations where east meets west. Oriental and occidental pieces of art on a table. I could guarantee perfection without even tasting a thing: Charles is a master.
The tastes were amazing, the crunch, the sweetness, the caramel... The halawat el jeben roll stuffed with mafroukeh and coconut is exceptional. Ashta... Man, he is a master indeed! The choux is indescribable. Even the macaroon dipped in chocolate was great. What I love about those creations is that they're balanced and have the right amount of sugar.
Ramadan is just around the corner and Daoud Basha has it all. A place to consider for sure.