The name, L'Auberge des Bois, made me want to try this place. With a catchy name, this restaurant is located amidst greenery and freshness…
On the road up to Bickfaya, just a few meters before you reach the roundabout, look left and you'll see a sign leading you down to a stone house nestled among the trees – a colorful site for the winter season.
A lovely first impression. Walk down a couple of stairs, you’ll reach a terrace with a beautiful view facing a warm restaurant which feels light and fresh thanks to large glass facades that open onto the exterior.
This place is interesting. Old style Lebanese tiles decorate the floor; some of the walls are white, while one is made of bricks. You'll find a wooden bar, a black lantern hanging from the ceiling and a cozy square with sofas and a low ceiling.
- Cold and hot drinks
- A single member of staff, the only waiter present was charming, despite his lack of know how when it comes to the hospitality business, but it wasn't a problem. He put a smile on my face.
- The music is soothing, classical and enjoyable
- The menu is very weak: Starters and salads, sure, but what's for lunch? Meat, meat and meat?
- I'm not a pierrade nor a fondue fan, so I was obliged to have the stroganoff
- Fish? No fish in the menu!
- Grilled chicken? Or duck...?
- Pasta or pizza... Something consistent, and surely something for the kids. A club sandwich for a quick lunch?
So we ordered three starters, two salads, two plates and a pierrade.
Lunch started with a basket of bread and butter. Warm and crunchy fresh bread, whole wheat, covered with sesame and a mix of seeds. The butter stuffed in a white container was not appetizing at all, it looked as if it had been stuffed in there by hand and looked weird.
- Goat cheese with basil and sun dried tomatoes: Two portions served on a blackboard with a salad in the middle. A crunchy edge, fresh and airy with warm cheese and the freshness added by the basil. Dried tomatoes for a hint of acidity. Very good indeed.
- Foie Gras with fig chutney: Four slices of foie gras with toasted bread and salad. The Foie gras was tasty, the chutney flavorful and the toast fresh and crunchy. Sadly, the slices of foie gras were way too thin and looked stingy. I'd cut them a bit thicker. The salad, on the other hand, was fresh and enjoyable.
- The carpaccio is very good! Thinly cut slices cover a round plate that was decorated with rocket leaves, while balsamic vinegar adds an enjoyable sweetness. A recommendation.
- The bresaola salad was served in a bowl. A generous portion of greenery with balls of goat cheese covered with sesame and served with strawberries and walnuts. Very flavorful, very aromatic, colorful and enjoyable. The food is indeed good around here... Yum, I loved the seasoning!
- Cold cuts, the charcuterie platter is interesting.A mountain of lettuce topped with slices of ham, salami and bresaola with pickled cucumber cornichons. Generous and attractive. Also, a success.
Before moving to the main plates, let me tell you about a wine, a wine I love and appreciate, a wine I got to know a couple of months ago while touring during the grape harvest. Atibaia from Batroun is sold here and the 2010 vintage is amazing. It's for LBP135,000 and I suggest you give it a try next time you're here, because you definitely have to come here.
- Beef Stroganoff:That was the first time I've eaten a stroganoff without rice but with mashed potatoes. Tender yet not too soft meat with great texture was pleasing, as was the flavorful sauce and smooth potatoes. I enjoyed it so much.
- Chicken curry:Cubes of chicken in a curry sauce with rice on the side. Bravo! What a nice plate, what good chicken... I loved everything except the onions decorating both plates, they don't fit and destroy any finesse the plates have.
- Pierrade:My wife tells me the meat is very good served with fresh, crunchy fries and vegetables. Indeed, I couldn't but have a bit, juicy, tender, soft and enjoyable.
Dessert is excellent:
- Pain Perdu ended our experience in style.A good one, just sweet enough, not soggy, and with a light feeling. I was not expecting it at all. A square bread, a thick one with a soft edge, adequately soaked in milk with vanilla ice cream in the side from Orso Bianco, which was sweet, as usual. If you don't know what to order, the Pain Perdu is a recommendation.
- Sami the waiter is smiley, welcoming and just makes this place work
- The setup is beautiful
- The plates are generously filled
- The ambiance is soothing
The minus and suggested changes:
- The staff needs training
- How about they wear some decent clothing and not serve us in their jeans?
- The owners have to stop smoking in this closed space while we eat
- Tablecloths are a must in a French restaurant, not paper napkins
Little imperfections, a tiny menu, but that isn't going to stop me from coming back. The food is really tasty filled with love, passion and aromas. You can feel a certain enjoyment in cooking.