Lebanon is truly an amazing country and regardless of anything that goes on - the positive vibes prevails and a great example to this is the continuous opening of new restaurants - places that are exceptional in many ways. One such place is Prune, a French bistro that boasts the feel of its neighborhood, Mar Mikahel. Old meets new, innovation meets restoration, good food meets amazing ambiance... keeping it real, Prune pays tribute to its surrounding.
After hearing good things about the place, I decided to give it a try. With my friend Rima, with whom I share the same passion for food, we went along to enjoy a nice Saturday lunch in a soothing Beiruti neighborhood.
It was 1pm on a Saturday when I reached Prune. The place was still empty, it seems that people enjoy late lunches around here, so sitting alone, I was transported into a Parisian ambiance. I had the time to appreciate every single detail. I loved Prune for its simplicity and authenticity to the typical French feel yet boasting little architectural details that still express the neighborhood's touch. Just imagine that this place was originally a garage, like most of the places surrounding it, and keeping the oil change pit and turning it into a small wine cellar is an ingenious idea... in my opinion...
The architectural details:
- A long place with the kitchen door at its very end
- A spiral stair case adds a kind of majestic feel to an industrial space
- A vintage feel around - including the black stained mirrors, black steel, marble details...
- The restaurant glass facade is typically French displaying some of the best items served all written creatively on the glass
- Reach a one door shop and be welcomed by a black steel vitrine where homemade food items are on display
- The same iron vitrine hides an access to the wine cellar below
- The floor is kept in its natural state, grey concrete with white stones
- High ceiling with dimmed yellow lighting is filled with hundreds of items that makes it look like a piece of art. You can't stop looking around. You will keep on discovering
- At the end, the restaurant hosts a bar where bottles act as a decoration, setup on the shelves pending from the ceiling
- The place is filled with square white marble tables covered by paper placemats and surrounded with black wooden chairs and brown leather cushions
- To the left, along the wall, black and white images decorate the space. Under it is a long light burgundy leather bench
- Four pending chandeliers pending above the tables add the required light to the tables
Today's specials displayed on the blackboard:
- Risotto cepes au Foie Gras 38,000L.L
- Cappellini aux asperges et huile de truffe 29,000L.L
- Glace prumeaux a l'armagnac 14,000L.L
Lunch started with a warm, crunchy and soft basket of bread. The basket, made of thick fabric material, is original as it looks like a bag that's folded open. Filled with two slices of French baguettes and two prune-like bread balls that are worth a mention.
Here's a round piece of bread that looks like a mushroom covered with sesame seeds and shining gold. It calls out for you to just devour it. A soft and tender bun that melts under your teeth like butter while the sesame seeds add a crispy texture ending the experience with a gentle sweet aftertaste making you say: "Wow! If this is is the start, what's coming next?". Bread is accompanied by Echiré demi-sel butter
- Les salades
- Les entrées
- Quelques classiques du bistro
- Nos huîtres
- Grillades et plats
- Moules et frites
- Nos petits plus
- Les desserts
- Les ardoises
- Salade "King Crab" Fenouil 36,000L.L: A round plate filled with fresh white crab mixed with lemon laying on a layer of thin sliced fennel placed majestically on a bed of fresh green rockets. I love how this plate, despite its simplicity, is gorgeously delicious and perfectly seasoned. I loved the different textures and different ingredients constituting this creation.
- Salade Lentilles Vertes du Puy, 18,000L.L: A round shaped lentil mixed with little tiny small carrots and tomatoes add a touch of color to the perfectly cooked ardent lentils. Every bite crunches in style under your teeth. As the fork enters your mouth you will taste the olive oil lemony mix covering the light brown lentils... this is where the enjoyment all starts... give yourself a second and allow your taste buds discover the ground pepper. On the side is a fresh green salad mix.
- St Jacques, Celery-rave a la Truffe, 18,000L.L: These scallops are like nothing you've tasted before. Served in their shell, they come in two distinct portions. With one scallop in each covered with a mix of fennel mixed with olive oil and lemon, they are to die for. Softness and crunchiness together in such a refined plate up to the standard of fine dining restaurants.
- Foie Gras et Chutney de Prune, 29,000L.L: On a black board, you will find a round piece of Foie Gras majestically placed on the plate served with some chutney and ground sea salt. This Foie Gras, imported directly from France, is not to be missed. A rich, fresh and tasty preparation that you will enjoy so much for its simplicity and served with three half slices of toasted bread. Take a piece of bread, add a chunk of Foie Gras on it, some chutney, a hint of salt and plunge into a world of wonders.
All of this, and we were just warming up for more wonderful things to come...
- Calamars et Poulpes Grilles, 22,000L.L: A generous portion served in a little mountain of grill calamari, presented with some greenery. The best thing about it is its seasoning. I enjoyed to the max.
Life around here is so nice and so joyful. A French bistro where guests are chitchatting and enjoying the weekend in style; as waiters were moving around, a rich smell of friesandescalopes passing by opened my appetite even more to discover the main plates.
- Risotto Mushrooms with Panfried Foie Gras and truffle oil, 38,000L.L: Is this dish even from our planet? Just imagine aromas of truffle caressing your nostrils while you appreciate the mushroom risotto that's perfectly cooked aldente with that crunchy feel I love. Let your tongue feel the smoothness of panfried Foie Gras bites hidden here and there around the plate. You should have seen me jumping on my chair from joy. I rarely eat things that creative and when I do, it's like I won the lottery.
- Poulet aux Prunes (Grilled chicken breast with plum, served with pomme puree) 36,000L.L: No, no, no... Am I dreaming or what? Is it possible! Bravo to the owner, bravo to the chef, bravo to every person who put the effort in creating such a marvelous piece of culinary wonder. Four slices of chicken layered one next to the other, served with prunes and slices of roasted almonds in a bath of sauce. Put one small piece of chicken, a piece of prune and cover it with sauce before taking it into your mouth. The world will stop for a minute. Amazing texture, awesome chicken quality, premium sauce, extraordinary flavors and a gentle sweet aftertaste that's cherry on top. I invite you all to come and taste this signature creation that is up to the standard of Michelin starred restaurants.
- Purée! Simple yet unique of its kind. Its freshness, lightness and seasoning with a hint of lemon makes of it a perfect preparation.
I was so happy, so amazed and so fulfilled with joy.
Afterwards, one of my dreams was coming true... Someone has found the real taste of french toast. Le Pain Retrouvé, a signature of Prune that is one of the best Pain Perdus I've had to date in Lebanon.
Le Pain Retrouvé: Two large bricks of bread covered with caramel sauce served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Slightly crunchy on the outside and inside is softer and more tender filled with milk, butter and sugar that's blend perfectly together. Some almonds decorate this plate soaking in a caramel sauce that's not sweet and rich in flavors. Two thumbs up.
Good to know:
- Prune doesn't use creme fraiche in any of its preparations except potato puree
- Foie Gras is unique indeed. Imported especially from abroad for your pleasure
- Plum chicken is a signature plate not to be missed
- Crab salad is a must try
- Prune is a real French bistro that serves the known Parisian: "Poulet mairgaise frites"
- The known Pain Perdu is called "Pain Retrouve" here and it truly deserves its name
- The ambiance
- The wine and water glasses
- The glass water bottles
A great lunch on all fronts. Today's lunch was exquisitely filled with passionate moments and discoveries. How amazing it is to enjoy good food and outstanding creations prepared by passionate, hard working people. With every bite you will admire and appreciate the effort that has been put to satisfy your taste buds. I truly enjoyed Prune, a French bistro offering a delicious dining experience in a unique setting and soothing atmosphere.