CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Nicolas Audi: A Cuisine Inspired by the Lebanese Terroirs at Ixsir
Wine and Twisted Local Specialties: The Lebanese Restaurant at Ixsir
Handled by Nicolas Audi, Ixsir welcomes you for lunch, especially on a Sunday. Drive up to Basbina, enjoy the beautiful scenery, sip a glass of wine, walk around the trees and taste Nicolas Audi’s Lebanese cuisine with a touch of finesse. I used to like it here, love Ixsir’s wines and make it a point to visit again every time I have the chance to -for the wine.
The restaurant has been serving the same food since 2014.
Welcomed by a hostess and served by waiters in white shirts, have lunch in the garden under the sun, sip one of the country’s best wines and let time fly. A casual lunch with no placemats and no table cover, no parasol, and no music. Imagine it like your garden up in the summer house. Missing positive vibes, I expected the food to be perfect! I thought it’s a buffet on Sunday anyway?!
The menu is Lebanese, a bit complicated:
- Les mezzes chauds: 9 choices
- Les plats cuisinés: 3 choices
- Les mezzes froids: 16 choices
- Les machaouis: 6 choices
- Les desserts: 8 choices
Expect to find creations like potato fingers, arayess fatteh, kebbeh Mhammara, “horra2 Osba3o”, chili con carne, boeuf bourguignon, watermelon feta zoubeh, spicy beef balls, vegetarian Kebbeh among others.
Desserts are Nicolas Audi’s signature especially the honey maamoul, Sahlab halawet el Jeben, double face Knefeh among other creations.
Lunch is served; It was so disappointing: small portions made for sharing if you are a party of five or more, order two from each.
- Mixed with thyme, the olives are interring. Un-pitted olives might break your teeth.
- Arayess Kafta, five of them, need a bit more toasting.
- Stuffed grapevine leaves have a strong flavor of aneth in the mouth; too strong and lack the lemony acidity this plate requires.
- Fattouch tasted cleaning detergent.
- Calamari is tasteless: lacking salt and lemon.
- Mouhammara with Kebbeh is unpleasantly bitter.
- The plate of cheese: why is this on the menu anyway? Cheese from the supermarket spread on a wooden board? Fine, serve it, but where is the French baguette? Jam or chutney?
- Excuse me! But the rice, simply rice, requires salt.
- Wedged potatoes have a thick envelop as if they were heated.
A disappointing overpriced lunch!
The cooked plates served in a cast-iron casserole saved my lunch! The chef is definitely better at cooking real food leaving Lebanese specialities for others. A delicious bourguignon cooked to perfection and loaded with flavors. Spicy chili con-carne cooked for long hours made with beautifully cooked beans.
Best of today’s lunch is definitely the wine; that white wine deserves an award. This medium-straw-colored wine is a blend of 40% Muscat, 30% Viognier, 15% Sémillon and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Lemon-lime aromas with touches of the earthy land set the stage for flavors of lemon-lime sorbet, rose petal and jasmine. It is very soft on the palate, with citrus playing second fiddle to floral flavors. An amazing Lebanese white wine our country can be proud of.
Desserts: knefeh is way too sweet and too gooey; what's the double face about it? Debes dessert would have been better without the jelly on top; it’s too watery, yet the flavor is strong and exciting. Glace sahlab is loaded with rose water, too aromatic; the ice cream needs more body because it feels watery and the halawat el jeben is too thin; needs to be firm and more consistent.
The needed improvements for a better experience:
- Arriving to the house, the mood is dull and dark. More lights and definitely a welcoming music.
- The first impression feels awkward and heavy; it’s not festive like it should be.
- Kids are not welcomed; unfortunately; kids Entertainment and playground are a must for Sunday lunches.
- The waiters need to be trained on how to handle wine: we are st Ixsir after-all. How to serve, how to handle the bottle, how to explain about this special wine.
- Can you please remove spoons from all the plates: the chef works very hard to decorate them, bloggers make sure to share a beautiful photo and waiters just throw a spoon everywhere! In 2019, the era of social media, this is not acceptable.
You expect perfection when you hear the name “Nicolas Audi”; it was not today! A restaurant not looking at the detail of things; everything is missing the extra mile of perfection from the start until you leave.