CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Le Talleyrand: One of My Favorite Places Revisited (Restaurant Closed)
Le Talleyrand: Celebrating Seven Years of Fine Gastronomy (Restaurant Closed)
Welcome to Le Talleyrand, one of the last fine-dining restaurants in Lebanon that has survived beyond the French bistro craze. What a lovely restaurant and unique concept that has been around for the last eight years, offering Lebanon the chance to taste good food in a fine atmosphere.
I haven’t been here for some time now but I still remember the fine crunch of their mille feuille and the softness of the pain perdu, which followed a sumptuous dinner. I think that I can safely say by now that Le Talleyrand, when it comes to high-end dining, offers the best value for money. I didn't know, but was surprised to discover that Le Talleyrand has undergone some fine renovation, they’ve covered the floor with a light colored wood parquet, the walls have been painted grey and decorated with indirect lighting while the terrace welcomes you into a garden in the heart of our busy capital.
The new, large space now looks more like a restaurant than it did before. I always thought this place lacked finesse and warmth, but now with white-covered tables setup with a complete set of cutlery, dimmed lighting, a dark-painted ceiling, the large wine cellar covering the right hand wall and some soothing music playing in the background... the right feeling is there!
Le Talleyrand, located in the Kantari area on Fakhr-el-Dine Street is a selective high-end restaurant that seats more than 80 people on the first floor of the building that occupies the corner facing Hamra Street. It has been the restaurant for some regular clients who pass by for their business meetings or family gatherings.
Reach Le Talleyrand and choose to sit at the bar occupying the right side of the restaurant, or head to the dining space to the left fit where you’ll find eight tables. You will sit comfortably while a silver plate of fresh nuts lands in front of you for the aperitifs.
I like its menu. One simple sheet with a large choice that suits all needs, changed depending on the seasons. The menu is finally being changed soon:
- Starters (15 choices)
- Pasta (5 choices)
- Fish (6 choices)
- Meat and poultry (6 choices)
- Side orders (8 choices)
- Cheese platter
- Salade d'endives aux noix, sauce citronnee LBP23,000: Fresh endives, cut in squares and simply layered on a round plate and mixed with a lemony sauce. I loved its simplicity, which can be great to start dinner and keep some space for dessert.
- Saumon d'ecosse en tartare a l'aneth fraichement decoupee LBP39,000: It was love at first bite... An awesome mix of lemon cubes, diced salmon and fresh dill activating your every sense with each bite. We couldn't but look at each other while enjoying this fine plate.
- Nems Vegetariens LBP30,000: What might look like spring rolls or summer rolls, and something that might be strange in such a classic restaurant, will make you change your mind as you bite into the first one.
- Tartare de merou LBP39,000: As good as the salmon tartare, diced bits of fish are mixed with lemon creating a perfect mix.
- Fondue de risotto aux cepes LBP30,000: Risotto is my favorite dish and I order it everywhere I go. I liked the way the mushrooms were left hard, so they crunched under the teeth, creating an equilibrium of different textures in this smooth mix. But, what I didn't like is the heaviness and creaminess of the mix, which makes you stop at the second or third bite. That was my least favorite dish that night.
- Cote de veau blanc de France grillees, sauce topinambour et menthe LBP68,000: Even though a bit overcooked, the veal was so tender, enjoyed with a sauce that contained mushrooms in some bites and simply mustard in others. I ordered it all with sautéed spinach, prepared without garlic, which matched perfectly with the meat.
- Nappage de sauce poivree sur filet fondant de boeuf LBP57,000: My friends ordered the meat and all loved it, its tenderness and sauce.
The most important part of this dinner and one of the reasons that take me back again to the Talleyrand again and again are the desserts - sumptuous, mouthwatering and exquisite desserts. They prepare the signature in-house Mille Feuille, a big piece that they cut into four smaller parts to be shared on the table. Believe me, you will never taste anything that good. So light and crispy, each bite crunches before crumbling under your teeth. I love its texture and fresh-baked aftertaste of the dough before you reach the pastry cream that flows majestically on your tongue with a unique passion. Just sweet enough, covered with sugar powder and decorated with grilled almonds... it all makes this cake an extraordinary creation: It is the best Mille Feuille in Lebanon for sure.
On the other hand, the special Pain Perdu is not on square bread like all others. In a cup, a mountain of cubes are baked and served with caramel on the side. The waiter mixes the Pain Perdu in front of you, combining the caramel sauce before serving it to everyone. This one was better last year, like a mountain, it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Making it in cubes dries it out.
The things I liked:
- The place looks fresher and younger after the redecoration
- The waiters are professional and know what they are doing
- The food is tasty and the prices reasonable
- It is unacceptable, in 2014 to still serve water in plastic bottles in fine-dining restaurants. If Sannine doesn't have glass bottles, move to another provider
- Since smoking is not allowed, why use ashtrays with cigarette supports?
- The menu has to be changed now! Tipp-Ex is not the classiest of things you want to see on a menu.
- Boost up the air conditioning unit a bit
If you're looking to enjoy some fine dining experience in the heart of the capital, Le Talleyrand, one of the rare examples still standing, welcomes you for lunch and dinner.