I don't know where to start or how to start this review but what happened today was like magic. I went to Shakespeare&Co again after disappointingly reviewing it before. Let me tell you a simple statement: I was positively shocked especially after truly believing that this place would not last long. A place which was failing on all levels is now close to reaching the top. What happened? New management? New staff? A reshuffled kitchen? A new vision?... I don't know, but what I am sure off is that today I witnessed a really a magical change...
Shakespeare & Co. is one of the most beautiful restaurants you can imagine visiting. An architectural perfection embracing an extraordinary design of artistic pieces of art. In this old English style place, your eyes can’t stop wandering and touring around the many colors and details all mixed to create the Shakespeare&Co. The place is composed of a cozy room with a chimney on the right side of the restaurant and the other big reception room on the left with the bar facing the entree without forgetting what made Shakespeare&Co famous: Its chicha, enjoyed on the open terrace.
A place some appreciate while others don't. Whatever side you're on, you can't stop to admire the details of architecture:
- A mix of different colors in tones of pink, purple, green blue and beige
- Even the concrete floor is decorated with paintings
- The pink and green wooden tables are covered with glass showing pictures and frames underneath
- Paper place mats, each is different and looks like a painting
- Beautiful sofas and relaxing chairs with their arms support, each different and unique
- All walls are covered with frames, old English style paintings or old English cupboards
- Waiters are wearing white shirts, black apron and a black neck foulard
- A section on the right for non smoking and a smoking section on the left side facing the bar
- A design ceiling with many pending lanterns
- A bar filled with alcohol bottles
- Curtains cover the metallic design facades and looking like paintings
- Look out for the walls covered with dozens of mirrors
- A terrace facing the inner Junction5 court and seaside road
- Couple of screens broadcasting sports events
- I like the wood ceiling which feels like I'm sitting in a mountain cottage
The menu sections:
- Breakfast: American, English, Healthy, Lebanese
- Eggs and specialties: Eggs, Foul, Pancakes
- Crepes: Savory and sweet crepes
- Saj: Zaatar, cheese, turkey and Mediterranean
- Soups: Tomato, lentil, onion, chicken
- Hot appetizers: Calamari, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks, chicken choices
- Salads: Cobb, quinoa, fish, Mediterranean, nicoise, caesar, smoked salmon…
- Sandwiches: Chicken, tuna, vegetable, halloumi, steak, croque monsieur…
- Shakespeare burgers: beef, chicken, fish
- Pasta: fettuccine alfredo, bolognese, lasagna, buckwheat…
- Pizza: Charcutier, barbecue, bresaola, frutti di mare, margherita…
- Main courses: salmon filet, ribeye, salmon, chicken…
- Dessert: Apple tart, creme brûlée, fruit salad, cheese cake…
- Beverages (No Alcohol proposed on the menu)
We ordered and enjoyed:
- Blue Cheese & Pear Salad: Mesclun greens, roasted walnuts, dried cranberries topped with poached pear, blue cheese and crispy beef bacon. Pick with your fork a little piece of pear, a bit of lettuce and a cranberry without forgetting to add a hint of cheese on which you will stick a chunk of nuts. Strength, crunch, sour, cream, sweet and lemon explode all in a single bite where y can't but look at the person in front of you and say: "mmmm... You have to taste it."
- Crepe: Thin light and crunchy, filled with rich sauce and an adequate quantity of chicken - tender and not chewy. Parsley adds the needed flavor that makes of this creeps a must try. I just grabbed it with my hand, wrapped it like a sandwich and plunged into it. A thin crunchy feel covers it from the outside before you reach the inner filling filled with tasty flavors and a lemon after taste.
- Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs: Fluffy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on English muffin, roast potatoes and hollandaise sauce. Very nice indeed. Tasty, non oily eggs, non fatty salmon all decorated with parsley, adequately seasoned and served on a delicious piece of bagel. This is a yummy plate. On the side, a hollandaise sauce and two grilled potatoes. I couldn't but wipe out my plate empty.
- Charcuterie Pizza: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy beef salami, beef pepperoni, beef bresaola, turkey ham and kalamata black olives. A large pizza, larger than all pizzas around town, thin with crunchy sides with a super generous filling of a mix of many flavors at once and decorated with couple black olives. It is good as is even though I would have preferred some ham added to the the beef and turkey used.
- Bread and Butter Pudding with Caramel sauce: The English version of pain perdu, this dessert is heavy to say the least but worth ordering. Covered with perfect quality of caramel, its hot and consistent. The bread doesn't feel either oily or watery. Every bite is tasty - not too sweet or over flavored. Topped with a ball of vanilla ice cream and roasted almonds, this dessert deserves two thumbs up. I'll add this bowl of delicious dessert to my list of favorites in Lebanon
The improvements are clear:
- Music is now playing in the background
- Food is tastier
- Pizza is much bigger than the one served when they first opened
- Waiters are educated and professional
What I loved today:
- Professionalism of the waiters, especially Chris.
- Three kinds of sugar (brown, white, sweetener) beautifully packaged
- Dark and milk homemade chocolate offered with the coffee at the end
- Generous portions at reasonable prices
- Light occidental music playing in the background
- Finally a place giving you the choice to choose between Coca-Cola or a Pepsi
- Their food menu is so incredibly rich, wide and diverse
- The menu is printed on thick paper in a book-like style: Professional and pleasant to browse
- Each place-mat has games for kids on its back
- Beautifully sculpted thick glasses: Short ones for water and long wine style glasses for soft drinks. They blend in nicely with the place's decoration
Everything was just good. One surprise after the other... A professional manager, a professional head waiter, welcoming and attentive staff, tasty food, good service, generous attitude and to end it all, coffee that was offered to us on the house. I'm still not believing this huge change and hope it will stay like this everyday and on every shift.
Enjoying a coffee break at work the next morning, and while writing the review I remembered that I had gotten some of their dark chocolate collection. It felt like the right time to taste it and experience its quality. Produced in Dubai and imported for our enjoyment, the selection is tasty. Dark chocolate, Gianduja Hazelnut as well as Coffee Bean Dark are all great.