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Quite a few people know and enjoy People - the restaurant within one of Lebanon's biggest department stores - Aishti. Today, this exclusive restaurant enjoys two locations, one in Aishti seaside and one of course in Aishti Downtown's rooftop. I recently enjoyed a good lunch in Zalka and decided to give the one in Beirut a try as well. With a lunch formula, it was a perfect place to stop for a bite after finishing a few meetings in Beirut.
Take the elevator up to the fourth floor. Next to Tumi, People is set under a glass pergola with an overview of Downtown.
People has been around for over a decade and has recently reinvented it's space making it cozier - Warm taupe tones light wood parquet, camel colored leather chairs, sofas and on a long bench glass tables and a full set of cutlery. Two forks, two knives and a table napkin.
Offering gourmet dishes combining local and international ingredients, I was excited to order. Pellegrino served with nuts while I made my order.
I received a basket of bread, glasses filled with ice, olive oil on the side and a smiley waiter.
Starters, main courses and desserts. A selection of French inspired dishes written in French and English.
The lunch formula changed everyday is for $40 TTC served with a glass of wine of which the Domaine Cheval Blanc 2013. Let's try it.
On the menu:
- The lunch formula started with lentil salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar served on a round soup plate, a small portion beautifully presented in its heart and decorated with a cherry tomato cut in half. Well cooked al dente lentils offering a light enjoyable crunch before the balsamic kicks in with its enchanting sweetness. Olive oil caresses your palatal buds, a certain enjoyment plays around the lips making you want to eat the next bite... Well done chef.
- That's a very good burger indeed! A super fluffy dough topped with sesame seeds hosts a medium cooked black Angus patty, a slice of cheddar cheese, a thinly sliced tomato, a crunchy lettuce and caramelized onions at the bottom. Mustard and ketchup are served on the side but you won't have to use them. A grilling flavor explodes while your teeth plunge into the layers. Molten bread, tender and premium quality juicy meat -which I encourage you to taste alone- and the really nicely sweet caramelized onions. A satisfying -close to- gourmet burger. Next to that are thickly well salted bright yellow fries.
I loved and enjoyed my wine, red wine served chilled, smooth and medium bodied, a wooden finish, light red fruits and some dry notes.
Best of the this experience is dessert, the superb and mouth watering chestnut confit with nougat ice cream. One single scoop is enough, heavy and full bodied, a creamy ice nougat topped with chunks of sweet chestnut confit and a caramelized sugar crumble. It is recommended and I'll surely come back for it.
Hicham, the waiter, gently approached the table with a smile on his face, asking about my experience and inquired why plates were sent back almost full to the kitchen. His professionalism made my lunch even better.
An enjoyable lunch, a smiling waiter, very good food, a certain class felt in he plates, an awesome dessert, a relaxing sofa; I'm happy to have passed today.