CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Albergo's Rooftop: Fine Dining in a Cosy Atmosphere
Al Dente: A Fine Italian in Beirut...The Accademia Italiana Della Cucina Dinner
Beirut French Gastronomy Week: An Enchanting Grande Finale Dinner
Le Festival de la Gastronomie Francaise, Beirut 2013
Le Festival de la Gastronomie Francaise, Beirut 2012
The Al Dente Ristorante with Chef Jean-Pierre Jacob
Al Dente Ristorante at the Albergo Hotel, Beirut
Semaine de la Gastronomie Française: A Dinner by Guillaume Sourrieu
Albergo: Meeting Chef Erich
A Dinner Prepared by Jean-Christophe Lebascle at Hotel Albergo
Gastronomie and Francaise are two beautiful words that describe a certain French culinary know how... You would expect some outstanding food prepared by one of France's starred chefs. Tonight's experience was outstanding.
Chef Marc Meurin did make us enjoy every part of this memorable dinner up to the standard of The Gastronomic week as well as the Albergo hotel. The French Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, Marc Meurin combines creativity, modern cuisine and fresh ingredients with his memories of growing up in Lens in the north of France. He now holds two Michelin stars for his Restaurant Meurin at Le Château de Beaulieu.
His inspiration for cooking came from his mother who would cook family meals with love and passion. At age 17, Marc headed off to hotel school in Lille and left three years later to set up his first restaurant, Laventie with his wife Claudine. With no training in major restaurants he built up his repertoire little by little, in his native region, using local produce and employing his passion, technical prowess and skill to gain a name for himself in the area.
The restaurant is divided into three distinct rooms. The main hall in the middle, the bar on the right and a dining area to the left. White marbles cover the floor. Spacious rooms with high ceiling and pending design metal poles. In the other rooms, old Lebanese tiles add a touch of color. Violet is the color of all the walls Round and square tables, surrounded with leather relaxing chairs, fill the space. Here and there large mirrors make the space look bigger. Two long alleys of lights add a fine artistic touch to the side rooms.
Dining with my wife, I made sure to enjoy this tete-a-tete dinner without playing with my phone much. So let's eat.
Crème de cèpe a l'émulsion de noix: It's like soup served in a coffee cup, cream of mushrooms topped with a white emulsion with a mild flavor. Crepes felt in every spoon, acidic and lemony, this starters simple yet innovative and up to a started chef standard.
L'anguille fumée à la crème de raifort, betteraves rouges, caviar de pommes vertes. A fine creation of a thousand flavors, a piece of smoked light eel beautifully set with class on a two thinly sliced beetroot and decorated with white cream splendidly topped with green gelatin bits of apple caviar. A sweet note, a light crunch, a smooth feel while the mix blends together around your palate to leave a fine long lasting impression. That's surely the work of a two starred chef.
Le flan d'asperges blanches au céleri truffé. It's an "Oh my God" plate. Served in a round soup plate is a juicy, thinly sliced transparent asparagus and a chunk of white cream in the middle. Diced celery add value to the plate where different textures, combined together with this lemony truffle creamy juice have created a memorable dish.
Thon de la Méditerranée mariné aux grains de sésame, vinaigrée de paimpols et poivrons de piquillo. It's a piece of tuna, close to raw on a bed of vinegrette juice with a sesame taste, surrounded by white beans and topped with a foie gras. I personally loved it and enjoyed it so much... Again the finesse of those creations the chef came up with tonight.
Tournedos de veau à la crème d'oignons brûlés, endives braisées, persillade de ciboulettes, jus de réglisse. This one is good, but not exceptional. The description is indeed mouth-watering but the meat is a bit over cooked and hard in my plate while my wife's was undercooked. I liked the burnt onions juice which leaves a tickling note on the palate, and the idea of having an endive laid aside but expected more finesse.
La poire pochée, soupe de vieux garçon, nougat glacé. It's a simple glass cup with unusual offerings, a golden biscuit crumbled like flakes on top of a the pastry cream covering the pear cubes floating in kirsch liqueur. An ice cream adds freshness and flavor to the mix. It's excellent!
Excellent, simply excellent. La Semaine de la Gastromnie Francaise is the "not to miss" event for all French cuisine aficionados, creations prepared by starred chefs, products all imported from France by Air France, wines carefully selected by Vintage wine cellar, served by professionals in the majestic setup of Aldente. Make sure to attend next year's event.