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A Must Try: Sunday Brunch at St. Elmo's Seaside Brasserie (Restaurant Closed)
I know I should have come here earlier, especially after seeing St. Elmo's mouthwatering photos on Instagram. I came here for brunch, which was good, and now am back for dinner on a calm Sunday evening.
St. Elmo's, located on the waterfront of Zaitunay Bay, welcomes you for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on weekends and on holidays. A pleasant atmosphere, well lit, a smooth, soothing music in a setup that reminds you of a sailor's house.
Enter a wooden space full of metallic lamps hanging from the ceiling, a bar welcoming you on the right, while a white wall with a long mirror decorates the left side. Rugged white wooden tables surrounded by designer chairs, some of which are metallic and others wooden, with a long leather bench along the main wall. Beautiful photos decorate the white wooden walls in a space that's relaxed with tables spaced apart from one another.
- For starters
- Garden party
- Burgers and sarnies
- Italian inspired
- Off the grill
- From the sea
- Mikati and cocktails
The little details of the place:
- The tables are topped with colorful placemats and personalized branded plates.
- A bottle of olive oil, Heinz ketchup, Sriracha chili sauce and a pepper mill sit on each table.
- The restaurant is set on two levels, the Athenee Bar and serving area on the upper floor, and the dining area on the lower one.
- Nachos and five dips: Served with a dip of mushy black beans, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheddar and pico de gallo. LBP19,000. On a round plate comes a bag of homemade nachos next to a bowl of dips. The bag is emptied onto the plate next to a single bowl of dips, which I found innovative. The different sauces are placed one over the other in a single bowl. Dip in the nacho and feel the layers one after the other before biting down and enjoying the crunch.
- Shrimp toast: Laughing Bird shrimp on sesame toast served with sweet chili dip. LBP19,000. Those are good, really good: Fried bread topped with lots sesame and filled with tender, moist shrimp served with a chili dip. The toast offers a certain crispness and a moist heart that's unique. Even though they were a bit oily, I enjoyed them.
- Chicken Satay: Grilled and served with a crunchy peanut dip. LBP19,000. Skewers of tender marinated chicken sprinkled with peanuts served next to an orange sauce that's fresh, sweet and flavored with carrots, but that didn't taste of peanuts and wasn't crunchy as it was described. I liked the plate anyway.
The starters were good as I eagerly waited for the main plates... I expected better.
- Fish and Chips: 180 grams of beer battered Mediterranean bass served with mushy peas, homemade tartar sauce and fries. LBP36,000. On a casserole dish you'll receive a large piece of fried fish alongside French fries, mashed beans and tartar sauce. The beans are tasty, the tartar as well, the fries are good but the fish... I don't know why it's so famous. A chewy envelope embracing a watery fish that's chewy and sticky without any taste whatsoever. A dull heart, a super crispy envelope, with no taste. Deceiving!
- South American Burger: Guacamole, jalapeños, pico de gallo and corn relish topped win aged cheddar. LBP25,000. An unpleasant overdose and smell of garlic and onions, but a burger that offers new innovative flavors. A burger that's fully loaded... A fluffy bun on top and some interesting ingredients inside. Crunchy chips, a spicy after note, guacamole on a premium kind of patty. I really loved the textures and flavors of this special burger that's not like any I've had before. With that comes a basket of fries.
- The food is good.
- Hicham the waiter is professional, I like the guy.
- A lovely ambiance, even though the CD finished and nobody remembered to press play again.
- The sauce portions are a bit stingy.
- There was a bizarre, unpleasant smell all night.
- Their fish and chips is still the same as I left it two years ago. Not impressive at all.
- I believe they're understaffed, or at least not allocating enough waiters to the inner dining area, so we waited...
- The music became unpleasantly loud from time to time.
- Why are plastic boxes of dirty plates left in the middle of the restaurant? They were here two years back and still occupy the same spot. They’re part of the décor I presume.
Best for last, as they say. You can't come here without trying St. Elmo's desserts, which somehow made this place famous. The giant cookie in a pan is a dream, as is the Nutella Fondant. I discovered today that they have a giant version of the cookie for four people, priced at LBP52,000.
The famous desserts:
- Soft center chocolate chip cookie. A fresh baked, deep pan cookie topped with vanilla bean ice cream LBP18,000. Awesome! Really amazing! A thin layer of brownie, warm and soft with melting chocolate chips, a crispy top and crunchy bottom, offering an interesting and enjoyable taste. That's not for the faint hearted and not for those who like a conventional brownie.
- Nutella Fondant with vanilla bean ice cream LBP20,000. Is this real? Is this really something that exists on planet Earth? I'm in love with this dessert... A metallic casserole served warm with a melting filling of spongy cake and a load of melting Nutella that hasn't turned into a sweet sauce like when you heat Nutella in a sandwich. That's food porn!
St. Elmo’s is indeed a restaurant like none in the country. It’s not a copy, but a unique concept one should try despite the little imperfections.