Bread Republic, this popular bakery is indeed a place to visit and discover... So here I am on a mission to find the best bread in town, along side the best Pain Perdu... Bread Republic is inevitably one of the places on my list to visit...
I was here to check out their bread of course, but as I browsed the menu, I discovered that they have Pain Perdu or what they call, Brioche Perdue. I ordered a selection of buns, the pineapple cake with cranberries, a banana muffin and of course the pain perdu.
On the flyers you can read: "Bread Republic is an artisan bakery that transforms bread from simply a food accompaniment to a whole pleasure by itself."
The banana muffin was excellent, tender, moist and richly filled with pecan nuts and walnuts, and covered with a thin layer of banana. A enjoyed the nice banana taste and caramelized flavor. If this muffin was that good, I imagined the rest of the selection to be just as tasty.
The pineapple and cranberry cake were even better. A moist and condensed sponge cake filled with pineapple juice and an after note of cranberries. Pieces look simple and are sold as is without fancy packaging and are amazingly excellent.
With that I've had a selection of bread, authentic French bread that's just good. Fresh bread with a thin outer crust and a inner condensed spongy heart. Artisanal it is, smells and feels.
While enjoying an espresso at the bar overlooking one of Achrafieh's busy entrances, I couldn't but notice the place's rustic feel. An old setup under the arcade decorated in a simple and relaxing way. The place is Bread Republic's where bread is displayed for sale. Baguettes, cakes, tarts and large pain de campagne with a selection of muffins and bagels.
The pain perdu or brioche perdue as they call it is different. Served in a black bowl, the smell opens your appetite welcoming you into a unique experience. The brioche is grilled, slacked in rhum and covered with slices of pears. I liked the idea and the different flavors offered, but the Rhum left a bitter aftertaste that was not great. The brioche was too thick and needed more freshness, lightness and sweetness. This preparation has nothing to do with the pain perdu we know, which is bread mixed with egg and milk. Bizarre... and not one of favorites.
Walid Atayah, the owner and head baker was present when I was there, so I took the opportunity to have a chat with him. The story all began in 2003, when Walid with a background in architecture, decided to open his bakery producing sourdough American bread and not French baguettes like people might imagine.
Let me start by telling you that I met a passionate person who puts all his efforts in producing something unique and different. He loves what he does and he believes that in Lebanon we have amazing food. His favorite is Lebanese food.... he insists that we make pizza better than the Italians and bread better that the Americans... He said: "A civilization that doesn't know how to do Kebbe bi Laban, doesn't know how to eat." I loved this quote which I'll remember for life.
Bread at Bread Republic takes more than 24 hours to make using liquid sourdough, salt and water with no yeast. Bread Republic bakes a large selection of Pain de Campagne - popular large pieces of bread sold in the villages of France, as well as a selection of muffins, cakes and specialty bread with walnut, dried fruits and nuts.
The story continued with the opening of a place called Bread in Gemmayze back in 2004 until Walid decided to have his restaurant next to the bakery in Achrafieh back in 2006. Hamra followed in 2007 until the latest project saw the light in 2013, that is a wine bar next to the restaurant in Achrafieh.
Bread is taken seriously here, large buns that reach up to a kilo each and produced to perfection. An enjoyable crunchy crust covers a fluffy and super airy heart that's moist and melts under your teeth. A unique bread experience... Now I understand why people are so in love with Bread Republic.
Other than that, the pizzeria proposes a large selection of antipasti, bruschetta, salads, meat, desserts and a summer menu from the dragon fired wood oven and surely the pizzas with homemade freshly made pasta.
Time was running late and I had to move, but Walid continued chatting with me while sharing some interesting facts. He says for bread to remain fresh a couple of days after purchase, the moist should be preserved or else it would get dry. The best way to preserve it is to put it in a paper bag outside the fridge and cut a piece after the other on a daily basis when needed, or cut it all in slices and preserve it in the freezer. Don't worry about eating the bread the next day, it will taste better because the aromas will have time to marry together.
Yes indeed, Bread Republic's bread is unique and tasty and I do recommend it. In case you haven't tried it already I suggest you do. Head down to their Ashrafieh or Hamra branches were you will be welcomed all wek, all day.
Tags: Lebanon Review Cupcakes Bread Achrafieh Pizzeria Cakes Tasty Desserts Pineapple Bread Republic ashrafieh walid atayah