My Latest Architectural Discovery
Yazhou came to be following a chance encounter and a strong friendship between the owner of the only Relais & Châteaux in Beirut « L’Albergo », Bechara Nammour, and the threesome Jacques & Laurent Pourcel and Olivier Château from Montpellier. Soon after they met, they decided to set up a different kind of restaurant, in a country where Lebanese are considered as nomads and great travelers, so … as living proof, fine food will naturally go hand in hand with travelling …
The meaning of Yazhou in Chinese is … Asia!
It’s a restaurant with a purely Asian feel to it, in its cuisine of course, a cuisine with Asian influences with the Pourcel chefs’ personal French touch - French Asian cuisine -, but also in its really quirky decor.
Situated in the heart of the Lebanese capital, between the corniche, the superb constructions of the 1930s, the magnificent palace, the beautiful villas, the luxury hotels, near the legendary and majestic hotel Albergo, Yazhou is also in the famous traditional area of Achrafieh, in the smartest street of downtown Beirut, the Abdel Wahab El Inglizi road, part of the famous golden triangle.
Located in a charming old building, Yazhou is beautifully spacious, a subtle blend of materials put together by the eminent designer Philippe Castro Castejon, from the Parisian agency Terra Nova, who decided to go for a harmony of 1970s and vintage.
Yazhou gives a nod to Asia with its collection of antiques from the world over.
A classical, timeless backdrop blends in harmoniously with spectacular, even bold pieces, like delicate calligraphy or fabulous tables. Among them, a unique table in its shape, aspect and texture, nicknamed « la table loukoum » (the Turkish Delight table!): a strong, stable foot, holds up a soft, floppy, melting top… « we are definitely in Lebanon! »
With fuchsia pink in the entrance, warm chocolate for the cocktail bar, a black and white chessboard for the main dining room, the decor is somewhat eclectic but with an acute sense of balance and beauty with the blend of materials such as grey oak and metal in every shape and form from brushed or hammered for the columns and wood and metal for the ceiling.
The walls of the main dining room have been entirely decorated in keeping by the Lebanese artist Jean-Marc Nahas, giving a soul to Yazhou. Hence, as if it were wallpaper entrusted to him by the interior designer, the artist has covered this voluminous white page with drawings interpreting his creativity. These black pen drawings give Yazhou its originality and accentuate its one-off identity.
The interior is divided up into several small rooms giving the impression of « entering a home ». Yazhou’s main room, with its brasserie design, can seat up to 80 people. The ceiling decorated with silvery balls is in stark contrast with the rectangular tables laid up in lines. Two beautiful private rooms provide a quiet ambiance. The carpet, imposing standard lamps in compressed plastic with dimmed lights, enhance the feeling of a quieter area.
The singularity of this place is undeniably the kitchen/bar feel to its kitchen which opens out into the restaurant like a bar at Dim Sum, where the team of cooks, come especially from Shanghai, is busy, and the other part, mostly organized around the wok where the chefs sauter the gambas, vegetables, chicken and soba …
In the centre, the imposing bar at Dim Sum is illuminated by the bright brass. Behind it, is the bright red wine cellar, with the same external lighting and bamboos under the windows. Everywhere is colorful and light!
The French Asian cuisine menu by Jacques & Laurent Pourcel at Yazhou offers a veritable culinary voyage, with its dishes exuding spicy Asian aromas with a personal French touch by the twin chefs.
The typical recipes are inspired by Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, in a free and fun style, bringing together exotic and modern, natural harmony and inventive elegance…
A blend of fresh ingredients prepared with the Pourcel touch and Asian influences as well as sunny flavors.
As ever, expect the unexpected with this tasty and colorful cuisine, served in a setting dedicated to culinary entertainment.
The Pourcel chefs have entrusted the kitchens to Yacine Gorine, a young French chef trained in the kitchens of Le Jardin des Sens. He works alongside a team of chefs straight from Shanghai.
Yazhou is the ideal destination for an unforgettable occasion, to be shared with friends, family or colleagues, when you can taste French food with exceptional Asian influences. Feel good and let your taste buds go wild!