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Nasma Opens in Beirut City Center
Nasma's Awesome Lebanese Innovations
I have been here before, enjoyed it and decided to stop by again for another yummy experience at the terrace of Beirut City Centre. Nasma, which means light breeze in English, is the name of this fresh restaurant, huge in size, fresh in color, beautiful in decoration. The food here is Lebanese with a twist, a funky touch.
Surrounded by Roadster on one side and the cinema banner on the other is Nasma. A large place inspired by Lebanese culture and built around a central court. The restaurant is divided into three distinct areas, the welcoming space facing the bar, the middle court under the wooden ceiling and the closed terrace after the arcade on a higher level.
The space is filled with colors, fresh and light colors that are relaxing and soothing at the same time. Light red, light blue and light green with tables of grey wood and a set of different chairs. Outside is a large terrace where people sit for long hours enjoying their shisha.
The place described:
- Wooden tables and metallic chairs fill the outside space where you can enjoy the outdoors ambiance the terrace provides with red and grey colors remind you of the place’s ambiance.
- On the other side of the alley is a large terrace with green and white chairs deposited around wooden tables.
- Enter the place to be welcomed by a long bar facing the entrance with three pending lanterns from one side and another metallic structure with bottles on the other.
- A fridge displays some mouthwatering cakes.
- Seven arcades remind you that you are in an oriental place.
- The middle space looks more like a dancing area with wood covering.
- It is filled with glass tables surrounded by beige chairs.
- Grey and green take over the inner dining space which looks like a closed terrace with a view on the street.
- Along the grey wall, green and white design lights pend from the ceiling.
- On the green wall, nice looking ropes cover it.
- Up front, large grey tiles cover the floor and paintings decorate the walls.
- Three TVs will entertain you during your stay as well as an interesting music playing continuously in the background.
- Pillows, from all the imaginable colors add a touch of fun to the general design
Dinner started with a basket of peanuts and a plate of black olives and termoss. Browsing the menu is fun, filled with mouthwatering photos and written in a smooth way.
- The preset menu
- Salads and cold appetizers
- Mezza and hot appetizers
- Grills and special plates
- Desserts and funny bites
- Cold drinks
- Hot drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
- Wine from Lebanon (Musar, Kefraya and Ksara)
Dinner was served:
- Fattouch: A flavorful salad composed of a mix of fresh greens, Roma lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, purslane, radish and Halloumi to give it a twist. They also use toasted sesame kaak and not bread. The sauce is the most interesting part, a lemony, sour sauce I liked. To make it even better, I'd use salty Halloumi not the neutral ones to add an interesting taste.
- Samke Harra: A beautifully decorated spicy fish plate which I recommend you ask to be served warm. A generous load of fried cashew nuts and almonds lying on a bed of grilled pepper and moist fish. Lovely indeed! It's a different take on samke harra with no garlic flavor, strong spices and long lasting spiciness.
- Grilled cheese rolls: Cheese rolls, four of them, grilled to perfection. A lightly crunchy envelope and an extremely moist heart of salty cheese. That's yummy!
- Hummus with minced meat: Grilled minced meat topped with fried pine nuts circled by hummus. Good quality hummos, an equilibrated mix of ingredients, crunchy pine nuts and a tender meat that's not chewy. Recommended!
- Omelette: A porcelain bowl in which is a mix of eggs, tomatoes and grilled onions. Yellow, red and white, adequately salted, moist, flavorful. Everything is indeed very tasty.
- Fattet Batenjen: Fried eggplant bathing in cold Laban with crunchy toasted bread and pine nuts. It was very salty, but the taste is excellent. The crunchiness of the bread, the coldness of the Laban, and the nuts, while the eggplants melt under your palate. Happy, I was.
- Chicken esmalliyeh fingers: Very deceiving! Fried esmalliyeh, an excessive overdose of garlic and inside is a purée of unidentifiable ingredients. Cheese or chicken? Very deceiving indeed.
- Mouhammara: Allow me to say it as it is, it's maybe one of the worst Mouhammaras I've had in my life. Excessive garlic, unpleasant and covering over all the flavors you expect from a Mouhammara. The recipe is not even close to reality.
After trying everything, I was back to swipe the plates of hummos, spicy fish and fatteh.
Dessert came afterwards: An ice cream halawa and chocolate cake with light caramel and sesame seeds on a bed of crunchy biscuit. The mix of ingredients together is just good. An ice cream that's not sweet, a biscuit that's condensed and enjoyably crunchy, a watery caramel sauce that's not intense and the sesame making all the difference.
- The waiters do their job well, they are professional but lack a really strong welcome. A large smile, and they need more interaction with guest...
- When plates are placed on the table, naming them is a must. Since those creations are different than normal Lebanese mezze, it would have been nice if every plate was explained.
- Smoking is allowed everywhere without restriction. I don't mind smelling Arguile, but smelling cigarettes while eating is not something a customer needs.
- The music in the background comes from the Coke studio episodes shot over the last two years. Beautifully filmed in high definition, they're broadcast on the screens while their music plays in the background. I loved the idea and believe many restaurants should do the same.
- The plates are beautifully decorated and appetizing. Generosity is felt in each one of them.
- They are called "placemats" not plate supports; A placemat's job is to protect your food and bread from the table not only support the plate. Those design circles should be reconsidered or placed on a paper placemat.
My second visit, second enjoyment and surely a recommendation. Nasma is a successful concept on all fronts. Dinner ended with a perfume bottle sent to the table to clean our hands before hitting the road.