A Crowning Iftar Expertise on the Crowne Plaza Beirut

It had been decidedly too lengthy since my first go to to the Crowne Plaza Beirut, tucked within the coronary heart of Hamra alongside the primary drag. Standing tall – a formidable 21 flooring to be actual – with sweeping panoramic views of the Lebanese capital metropolis, the Crowne Plaza, an IHG (Intercontinental Accommodations Group) property, has a lot going for it.

To start, the underground self-parking facility can’t be ignored, as parking is often nightmare-inducing elsewhere in Beirut. At simply 200,000 LBP (USD 2.20) for as much as 4 hours, this can be a cut price. Alight the elevator on the floor ground, the place a number of steps westward will land you on the threshold of the Crowne Plaza. The lodge boasts 190 rooms, and I’m informed which you could nab a room with complimentary breakfast buffet together with VAT for about $100. You actually can’t beat that in or outdoors of the town!

Final Friday, we forayed into Hamra with the intention of making an attempt the Iftar, a conventional Ramadan feast loved at sundown, at Crowne Plaza’s Vivaldi restaurant. I’d realized that Chef Ihab Sharaf, beforehand serving the Radisson Blu Martinez for twenty years, had been lured to the Crowne through the peak of the Covid period, in 2021. To be a visitor as soon as extra of his reliably classical Lebanese delicacies would definitely be a deal with, so we arrived keen with anticipation round 6:30 PM, simply because the ending touches had been being laid on the buffet.

We had been greeted with effusive heat by the employees, who led us to our desk overlooking Michel Chiha road. I ventured over to the buffet to sneak a peek on the grand meal that awaited us. And that is the way it went.

Two soups herald the start of the parade of dishes: cut up purple lentil and vegetable. Home-croutons and wedges of lemon accompany each. Subsequent up, a tower of savory pastries, that includes melt-in-your-mouth dough giving option to numerous fillings, like cheese, floor meat with onions, and spinach. Spring rolls make an sudden albeit welcome presence!

On to the salads, the place a wreath-like recent zaatar salad dotted with pomegranate seeds will rev your urge for food because it leaves a tingling sensation in your tongue. Unearth a blinding rocket salad with purple onion tossed in sumac, topped with Parmesan shavings. However what actually elicited my delight had been the dainty ramequins of creamy hummus and finely diced beetroot in olive oil. Such an excellent presentation matched solely by an equally excellent style!

Tabbouleh, hummus, mtabbal, and extra…discover the meals artwork!
Behold the person parts of diced beetroot — so elegant!
An attractive tower of savory pastries (spinach is much and away my favourite!)

I assembled a plate of the aforementioned with mild care, heading again to my desk with giddy earnest. The waiter supplied us the standard Ramadan juice of “jellab,” chockfull of sultana raisins and blanched almonds and cashews. I’ve attended a number of iftars this season, however the jellab I sipped on had been both too watery or overly sugary. This model was completely good.

My entrees
A superior jellab drink chockfull of sultanas and nuts

After I’d tucked in to the chilly mezze, I approached the new dishes with calculated restraint – I needed to pattern a little bit of the whole lot and nonetheless have ample room for dessert. The batata harra is precisely as your mom would put together it – giant, imperfect cubes of fried potatoes adorned with simply the best dose of piquancy and cilantro. There’s a casserole of penne pasta, adopted by oriental rice with lamb and sautéed nuts, hen moghrabieh, samke harra, and a rice pilaf. I homed in what I haven’t had in ages: samke harra, or fried white fish filets doused in a aromatic tomato relish. And fortunate was I, as a result of it hit all the best notes when it comes to tenderness, spiciness, and general taste profile.

The new dishes, starting with batata harra

I meant to assist myself to a second serving, however alas my impatience for sweets overcame my higher judgment. I discovered myself piling up a plate of basic Lebanese goodies, like atayef, mafroukeh, and mhallabieh, all sourced from the well-known pastry home Rafic Al Rashidi. There was additionally decadently chocolaty sponge cake to sate even probably the most fastidious of dessert aficionados. And when you may tear your self away from all of the sugar, there was a pyramid of recent fruit together with bananas, kiwi, strawberries, apples, and oranges to remind you that you’re within the land of milk and honey. I say that with the utmost sincerity, as a result of the fruit is so profoundly and naturally candy, that my father declared with confidence he hadn’t loved a Golden Scrumptious apple this good in 40 years.

The dessert show

We ended our feast with café blanc, or sizzling water tinged with orange blossom water, the perfect digestif after a filling Lebanese banquet. By this level, we’d relocated to the downstairs foyer space, the place a stunning fountain behind a glass panel gushed cathartically.

I reveled at my rediscovery of the Crowne Plaza Beirut and vowed to not let one other six years come between me and my subsequent eating expertise at this positive institution. Given the truth that Government Chef Ihab is manning the kitchen, I’m pretty sure I’ll be again very quickly.

Government Chef Ihab Sharaf

Crowne Plaza Beirut

Hamra Foremost Avenue, Beirut

+961 1 734100

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