CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Couqley Bistro: Now in Dbayeh
Couqley: Always a Good Idea
It's been some time since I last came to Couqley, the place for good food, great ambiance and professionalism. I decided to visit again to indulge in some more pain perdu and their famous steak-frites until that was, I laid my eyes on the special of the day board. Couqley has been a favorite in Beirut, providing a real French bistro experience in a setup that will transport you to the streets of Paris, to those buildings built more then a century ago, where the wooden interior makes for an authentic, cozy experience. I sat in one of the corners and enjoyed the vibes this restaurant has to offer.
The first impression was great:
- I loved the ambiance
- It was calm, without the music that can add transform to noise in a busy restaurant
- The waiters were all very well trained and professional
- The colors were less yellowish and more fresh, until the 23rd hour passed
- The blackboard has an interesting selection on offer
- Couqley has a French brasserie setup
- The restaurant has an outside and inside dining area
- There’s an outside terrace with its wooden pergola
- The inner restaurant’s high ceiling creates a soothing atmosphere
- 14 lamps suspended from the ceiling give a warm yellowish light all around
- Six pictures on the wall welcome you as you take a seat
- A long, brown chesterfield sofa sits along one brick wall
- Look up the wall and you can see wine boxes, opened bottles as well as a wine barrel
- By the main door the floor is made up of little marble cubes with the Couqley logo
- The bar is full of suspended glasses, hanging above the surfaces
- A door takes you to the kitchen
- Wooden chairs have their own individual red and green cushions
- Brown wooden square tables give an authentic feeling
- Paper place-mats and a bread plate sit ready on every table
- Two different checkered napkins; one green and the other red matching the table to the decor
- The plates are branded with the restaurant’s logo – I like that
- Plat Express
- Side Orders and Sauces
- Recommendation du Chef (Cote de boeuf)
- Plat Principal
- Weekday Lunch Formula
- The Wine Selection, Couqley carafes, wine by the glass
- Foie gras with pain d'epice: The best part of the experience is the bread. The aromas it dissipates announce the start of a luxurious experience. Three rectangular foie gras blocs, served with strawberry coulis and balsamic vinegar, simple and nice despite the foie gras being overly soft. On the other hand I loved the strawberry mix; diced strawberries mixed with a bit of sugar. It's a light and revisited version the average strawberry jam.
- Quiche Parma ham LBP17,000: The Parma ham made me smile. A triangular piece of tart is served with a green salad. A fine piece of crunchy dough, filled with intense melted cheese and crunchy diced pieces of Parma ham added a smoky flavor. I loved it.
- Crab cakes: two circular pieces served with a green salad. Well seasoned and oil-free, they were as good as they should be. I might have preferred them crunchy, though.
- Truffle Brie Burger LBP38,000: A strong truffle oil aroma took over the table as my burger landed in front of me. Pain de campagne bread topped with thick burger meat, Portobello mushroom, layers of brie cheese and lettuce on top. The burger is served with truffle mayonnaise sauce on the side. That's luxury on a plate. A crunchy bun followed by juicy premium meat, a taste of the mushrooms and fresh greenery, it all blends together and the mayonnaise adds the seasoning needed to make this creation a sumptuous one. I was honestly very impressed. The brie, with its strong taste, the meat and its grilling flavors, the Portobello mushrooms, grilled to perfection and to top it all, a subtle truffle oil. Unfortunately the burger was the special of the day and isn’t normally available on the menu for you to try; I hope it will be.
- The usual at Couqley... Nothing beats the comforts of habit and having the steak and frites at Couqley is the perfect meal for a Sunday evening. As expected, the side salad was served with the freshest leaves and the most balanced and tasty sauce. Small, thin and crunchy fries, typical of French bistros, generously garnished the plate. The meat was perfectly cooked and placed to rest amidst the famous Couqley sauce. The extra pinch of salt in the sauce falls within the plate's balance and the overall satisfaction from the dish met my expectations: cozy and tasty, supreme excellence is always simplicity.
- Pain Perdu: On a round plate was served: A large piece of square bread, nicely soaked in milk, perfectly cooked and covered with a layer of crunchy, caramelized sugar. To top it all, a caramel sauce covers the mix in style. Awesome to say the least. That's a real, simple pain perdu, exactly as it should be and as the French created it. I loved it.
- Creme Brûlée: In a round porcelain casserole, a thin layer of cream topped with a crunchy cover of caramelized sugar. A mouthwatering creme brûlée that just melts under your palate while the sugar crunches in style. One bite after the other, the experience is so addictive that you'll have to finish it all. As good as the pain perdu, this dessert is exquisite..
- The Chocolate Mousse is served in a cup. A cup filled with dark chocolate mousse and decorated with a biscuit. Soft and airy mousse, concentrated in flavor and strong in taste while the crunchy bits of chocolate explode, this dessert is something wonderful. Bravo!
- The staff and managers are very professional and super attentive, which is something I really appreciate as it is rare to find these days
- The ambiance is convivial
- I love that there’s no music in the background
- The food is tasty
- Our desserts were free that night, a gesture well appreciated