March 06, 2015 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Mosaic: An All Day Generous and Tasty Buffet

Mosaic, Phoenicia Mosaic, Phoenicia
4.05 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:81/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 8.5/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 26/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 8/10

Mosaic, the all day restaurant at Phoenicia Hotel, welcomes you for breakfast, lunch and dinner around a generous buffet. A must try. I've been here before for breakfast, which was very good and believe that it is one of the best breakfasts you can have at a hotel in Lebanon… more so the Ramadan buffet was impressively generous and so good… And now I am here for lunch.

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Imagine, run by the same hotel, my experience at both Mosaic and Eau de Vie are complete opposites. Although I haven't had a positive experience at Eau de Vie so far, my experience at Mosaic is always positive… this is why I strongly believe that Phoenicia can improve on many fronts.

Especially when they have a good example to run by…

Mosaic has left me impressed… professional service, very good food, super generous buffet and choices – ideal for a business lunch or an outing with friends.

Walk up the large castle-style stairs where you'll find Mosaic on the right side. You are welcomed with a big smile… and then Najy takes over. With a perfect Australian accent, Najy takes me on a tour around the buffet. He is a refreshing character, whom I have met before. His professionalism, positive energy and enthusiasm is overwhelming and not to mention his detailed mouthwatering description of everything on display which will make you want to eat everything…  Great hospitality. 

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The tiny little majestic details are endless: 

  • High-end hotel setup and luxurious ambiance.
  • A full table setup, two forks, two knifes and two cups.
  • The dishes are presented differently from one another and setup in a professional way. 
  • A beautiful dessert section, colorful and mouthwatering. 
  • The plates are high-end quality: Royal Porcelain.

I was fulfilled just looking at the buffet. Let's see the endless choices. The buffet is divided into nine islands, each proposing a cuisine to satisfy all cravings.

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Let's start by the salads and appetizers:

  • The salad bar
  • The cheese player
  • Habra Nayyeh
  • Freshly prepared tabbouleh
  • Noodle salad
  • Artichoke salad
  • Rocca salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Hummus Beiruty
  • Moutabbal shmamdar
  • Moutabbal
  • Basterma
  • Hummos
  • Mouhammara
  • Moujaddara
  • Labneh

The seafood bar:

  • Freshly rolled maki
  • Shrimps
  • Smoked salmon
  • Crab sticks
  • Mussels

The Lebanese corner:

  • Iranian rice
  • Kafta Djeij
  • Makanek and Kafta
  • Baked bites
  • Kebbet shawarma
  • Freshly cut meat and chicken shawarma

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The international corner:

  • Asian soup
  • Carrot soup
  • Grilled fish
  • Stuffed chicken
  • Roast beef
  • Potato croquette
  • Mixed vegetables
  • The pasta station
  • The Indian corner
  • Chicken tikka
  • Chana masala 
  • Chicken korma
  • Lemon rice
  • Nasi goreng rice
  • Lasagna
  • Chicken teriyaki

The organic bread corner featuring bread from Erik Kaiser.

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International desserts:

  • Caramel cake
  • Chocolate tart
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Pistachio cake
  • Fudge cake
  • Strawberry cake
  • Foret noir
  • A selection of small cakes
  • Exotic fruits
  • Macaroons
  • Fruits tarts 

The Lebanese dessert spot:

  • Oum Ali
  • Knefe bel ashta
  • Mafrouke
  • Assabeh
  • Madlouka
  • Katayef ashta
  • Eish el Saraya
  • Ward l sham
  • Halawet Jebneh
  • Chocolate kol w shkor
  • Ghuraibe
  • Nammoura

The sweet, light corner with two choices of sugar free bites.

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Time to eat:

  • I honestly couldn't try everything but the things I had were enough to give a strong first impression. I started with the appetizer corner. The tabbouleh is fresh, cut in small pieces and easily appreciated by the international clientele who might not be used to this salad. Hummus Beiruty is as good as you'd expect. The quality of the shawarma is good, but the meat is dry. I remember it being chewy and dry last year and it’s still the same, nothing has been done to make it better. Now for the best part, the beetroot moutabbal is amazing! The crunchy nuts, the beautiful color, the rich flavors, bravo! Their mouhammara, and I'm a big fan, is very, very good. What I loved about all the food I had until now is that the flavors are simple, uncomplicated and surely enjoyable.
  • Now for the main island. I enjoyed two choices of rice from the Indian corner, flavorful pasta, which was a bit over cooked, awesome lasagna, and a tender roast beef... As good as I experienced last year. Mosaic offers very good food for a reasonable price of $47; yes reasonable, for the choices offered.
  • Now for the desserts. A real improvement since the last time I was here. The desserts at Phoenicia never impressed me but today was a huge transformation. The chocolate fudge is exquisite. The chocolate tart with dark chocolate and custard in crunchy dough is top notch. The Mille feuille is just right. The fruit tart is good. A big no for the macaroons, crunchy and too sweet, like a biscuit. 
  • Now for the oriental sweets. My regards to chef Abdallah. I tasted, was amazed, screamed and went asking for the chef's name. Chef Abdallah, your creations are heaven! The textures, the consistency, the crunchy fresh unsalted nuts, just the right sweetness... I'll be coming back here just for the oriental sweets.

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The little details I like:

  • The printed tags next to every plate with zero spelling mistakes

Something I'll change:

  • Since they're using Sohat water bottles, an upscale restaurant like Mosaic should use glass bottles, and glass bottles only. 

Good to know:

Seafood night is Friday night for $60 and Sunday buffet lunch is for $51. They have a kid's area and it's free of charge. 

An espresso for the road, a joyful lunch but the best was yet to come. "3amm Nassib"… clicking away his coffee cups, this man has been working here since the early sixties, touring around with his bitter Turkish coffee. He'll add a smile to your face, gauaranteed.




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