I heard about Lebanon's first "Kharouf" restaurant but I honestly was not expecting it to be as sexy as this! Kharouf, lamb in Arabic, is the first restaurant of its kind to serve the famous lamb on a spit in a restaurant. Known as a delicacy for weddings and private parties and all the way from "Souk el Akel", Kharouf is the little baby of Charbel, a passionate cook living for the love of meat.
Facing Baron and Frosty Palace, Kharouf welcomes you for lunch and dinner. A softly lit place with lots of wood, a couple tables and a bar which faces the chef in action. Down the hall is the grill, a big fire pit throwing its colorful spells on all sides.
Come meet Charbel, his positive attitude, his smiley face, his love for everything he does and the passion that's driving him. Come check the decor, the yellow wall on one side and the white ceramic wall on the other. I loved the leather aprons, the chains dangling from the ceiling, the old cooking utensils and the paper rolls in which the menu specials are written.
On the menu, find a selection of Kharouf items alongside all-time Lebanese specials. Hummus, grilled cheese rolls, Lebanese steak tartare, charcoal grilled cabbage, grilled lambs liver. Salads, kharouf platters, hot platters, sandwiches and kharouf pottery.
Pre-lunch: labneh, olives and crunchy 2erben with a basket of markouk bread cut in circles.
I was amazed, transported, astonished by the dishes' beautiful presentation and exceptional taste:
- Start your lunch with the bowl of Lebanese tomatoes infused with Arak and local fresh greens. A big juicy red tomato is cut in quarters and served with a glass of arak nestled in its center. Empty the glass and enjoy, a vegetable the world envies.
- The eggplant is phenomenal!!!! A large eggplant grilled to perfection and served as is on a wooden board, mashed and covered with fried bread crumbles, pomegranate bits, fresh zaatar and pomegranate molasses... wow!!! Is this real? The acidity, the taste, the textures, the heat, the flavors; that's a two thumbs up for a dish that's so simple but revisited to amaze.
- Really, cabbage can tastes this good??? I couldn't believe my eyes, a cabbage grilled to perfection giving it a soft yet crunchy feel with aromas and flavors of grilled charcoal. The vegetable is then topped with labneh and served with grilled tomatoes. Sweet and sour a-la-libanaise, the labneh turned warm and sour, the tomatoes add sweetness and the cabbage simply crunches; loved this combination.
- Hummus, as creamy as it should be, served differently then the conventional way and is topped with minced lamb meat. Lamb and crushed nuts without needing any oil.
- I thought I knew what eggs with kawarma should taste like... I thought I knew what moist eggs were until I had this extravagant clay pot of eggs and lamb meat. So moist and so delicious!
- Order your lamb chops red and juicy, certainly not overcooked! Tender and soft to sink into - just like you would a relaxing sofa. Recommended!
- Best for last, the lamb sandwich bites served with rice on the side. After all lamb is the speciality and Kharouf has managed to do it to perfection! Tender meat mixed with lemon and rolled in saj bread.
What more can be said. I loved it here and will certainly recommend it to everyone craving a tasty meal or searching for a memorable experience. Kharouf = guaranteed satisfaction.