CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
The Gathering: Butcher Grill (Restaurant Closed)
The Gathering: A Perfect Three In One (Restaurant Closed)
The Gathering: The Italian Cookery (Restaurant Closed)
The Gathering: Transported... in the Heart of Beirut! (Restaurant Closed)
One of the places I really enjoy coming back to every once in a while is The Gathering. The Gathering, this little village down in Mar Mikhael offers a blend of three restaurants: an Italian kitchen, a grill house and a drinks bar. My favorite is surely the Butchery.
Enter this beautifully set village and the butcher grill is to the left. Out, on the pavement, you can't but stop to enjoy the olive tree where people are normally stood smoking or the old stone houses, each individually restored to perfection. I loved the metal, the stones, the wooden touches and the general feel of black and class.
Inside the butcher grill is a square house with an open kitchen and a grill preparing plates a la minute. Black and grey tiles, thick wooden tables and some burgundy benches fill in the space.
Choose to sit outside since the smoke from the grill is a bit overwhelming and inside feels a bit dim for a fresh, sunny day. Overlooking the inner court, four tables are ready to host you; wooden tables covered with a violet cloth, white plates an olive oil bottle and a pepper mill. We ordered while enjoying the soothing music.
- Pasta and risotto
- The menu is now wider, offering a larger choice.
- A plate of fresh thyme and olive oil lands on the table for the pleasure of your senses. Aromatic, innovative and full of wonders.
- The glass water bottle: An exceptional innovation way before Sohat introduced their glass bottles to the market. Blue or orange, the bottles are my favorite touch here.
- I found the staff to be a bit dull, not smiley enough and not enthusiastic about their work... And again, for the third time this week, my order was taken by the head waiter and delivered by someone else, who came to the table and shouted around asking who had ordered which plate. The restaurant was empty; it would have been better if the plate landed in front of me in style.
I had a memorable meal. I enjoyed sumptuous fries and extremely tender meat that's full of flavor and aromas and melted under the teeth like butter.
- Lunch started with a selection of cold cuts including a Lomo ham, chorizo, salami and Jamon Iberico served on a piece of wood which is basically a wine box. With that a platter of cheese, a selection of many possibilities served at room temperature and ready to melt. Conte, Brie, Saint Marselin and others. I enjoyed the bread served on the side, as well as the dried tomato sandwich lying on the ham. An interesting start.
Before moving on, let me tell you about a wine, a special wine, with a retail price of only $30, a fine local wine called Chateau Marsyas. A classy bottle, simple and clear with an intriguing name, a full bodied red wine with rich aromas of red fruits and floral notes, strongly aromatic and light on the palate. Open the bottle half an hour in advance and let it breathe before enjoying a piece of Lebanese art. I've always considered it one of my favorite bottles in town.
- My meat, the Angus beef filet MB3, was really awesome. Beautiful looking and adequately grilled, this chunk of meat is ready to amaze. No sauce needed, just cut a slice and enjoy its softness. Blood free and richly flavorful, I smiled from joy.
- The chicken, a recommendation and talk of the town. Chicken in thyme, golden and so appealing, tender and moist with a thyme sauce on the side. I'd come for it if I were you.
Last time, I remember the chocolate crêpe which made it to my Top 10 list of desserts. Today, I tried their chocolate fondant and it surely made it to my Top10 desserts of 2015. A beautiful cylinder, with a crisp envelope and melting heart, a heart of dark chocolate fondant that will tickle all your taste buds. Not sweet, but rich and full bodied, the fondant is topped with powdered sugar, making it look good and taste better. On the side they served ice cream in a cup, which was not as exceptional.
A good meat experience, The Gathering it is.