Monday, July 1, 2013

Restaurant review: Beirut Grill, Singapore

Beirut Grill is a Lebanese restaurant located near the colorful and buzzing Arab street in Singapore. Being a fan of Middle-Eastern food and loving this ethnic neighborhood of Singapore, my visits to Arab street are frequent. I'm captivated by the medley of fruity smells from the hookah/shisha wafting around, the exotic perfume and spice shops, the array of shops selling colorful Persian carpets and rugs, the numerous little cafe dotted streets and the cute little boutiques housing quirky merchandise. I've been to several restaurants at Arab street although this is the first one that I've reviewed in my blog. I had been to Beirut Grill a few years ago with my hubby on a hot, sunny afternoon and we had enjoyed a delicious set lunch. Keeping that in mind, we decided to take two guests who were visiting us to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Arab street and to unwind over dinner at this restaurant. 

I enjoy Lebanese cuisine because of the abundance of whole grains, vegetables, herbs and fruits that it incorporates. Typical flavors found in Lebanese cuisine include olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon. Beirut Grill is popular for its mezze which is categorized as hot and cold. Similar to the tapas of Spain and antipasto of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes served on a platter, creating an interesting array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. Beirut Grill offers authentic Lebanese food with key ingredients including herbs and spices that are said to be brought in from finest shops in Beirut which happens to be the capital and largest city of Lebanon. 

Before I delve into the restaurant and the food, I need to lament on the crummy photographs in this post. I blame it on the dim lighting and my lame point and shoot camera! Try as I may (ok...I didn't try that hard!), I couldn't get better shots than this *sighs*


The restaurant has a simple yet modern contemporary Middle-Eastern decor complete with embroidered carpets, rich fabrics, ornate lanterns and exotic colors. It makes for a relaxed dining atmosphere.



The menu has a wide array of authentic Middle-Eastern dishes including soups, salads, pastries, starters, main courses and desserts. Vegetarians can take heart from the fact that they have a decent selection of vegetarian dishes.




As is my habit, I ordered the Arabic mint tea which was really refreshing.


I guess because it was the weekend, there was a short belly dancing performance which was entertaining (so what if the performer was Chinese?!). I wasn't able to get a single decent shot because the movements were so rapid. Also, I started to feel a bit weird because I was the only one trying to take pictures! Tsk tsk....the lengths some people go to for their blog :D




Ok....so coming to the F.O.O.D, since we were a group of four, we decided to order a starter platter. We ordered the Beirut Mezza Platter ($22) which consisted of hummus, baba ghanoush, moutabal, cheese rolls and falafel served with warm pita bread. I liked everything especially the moutabal which was yummo! I've come across many places where they say baba ghanoush and moutabal are one and the same. However, judging by what I sampled here, although both these dishes have the same main ingredient which is smoky baked aubergine, that is where the similarities end. Moutabal contains yogurt, tahini and garlic whereas Baba Ghanoush is the one with pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, parsley and walnuts. Anyway, coming back to the mezze, the hummus was to my liking which doesn't always happen because often at Middle-Eastern restaurants I find that the hummus contains too much tahini which makes it overpowering and bitter. The falafel was surprisingly flavorful and not dry at all, something that did not go unappreciated. We felt that the pita bread was not sufficient to finish off all the dips so we had to order more. I would strongly recommend ordering this platter because you get to taste a variety of dips and starters plus it is great for sharing. 

We ordered the Fried Halloumi Cheese ($14) which the waitress warned us beforehand that would be very salty. We didn't think much of it and ordered it anyway. The fried cheese arrived served with tomatoes and lettuce. Once we tasted it, we found it to be extremely salty indeed. She wasn't kidding! When eaten together with the side salad it was alright but I was still yearning for some kind of sauce or dip that would cut through the saltiness of the cheese. That being said, I still didn't think that it was a bad dish.

We ordered three main courses which was to be shared by four people. The first one was called Makali ($15) which consisted of deep-fried eggplant, carrots, and cauliflower, served with tahina sauce and fresh home-made Arabic bread. This dish didn't look very appetizing and taste-wise thought it was alright - not bad but not great either. 

The second dish was Bamia ($14) which had lady’s finger cooked with Beiruty gravy served with vermicelli rice. I liked the texture and simplicity of the rice. The gravy was a little too tart for my liking. I usually don't fancy any gravy or sauce that is tomato based so I may be a bit biased here :P

The third main course was the vegetarian Mousakaa ($17) which had char-grilled eggplant cooked with chickpeas & onions, stewed with tomato sauce and topped up with mozzarella cheese. This was served alongside vermicelli rice in a hotplate. I have had Mousakaa before and I was expecting it to look more like lasagne but I was surprised to see that it looked more like a gravy. I've never had this kind of Mousakaa before but it was pretty good. The rice was similar to what we had with the Bamia and it was fragrant and had good texture. I would say that among the three main courses that we ordered, this one was my favorite. 

To finish off, we ordered the Baklava Platter ($12). Baklava is crispy filo pastry filled with crashed nuts tipped with honey and rose water. We had tried the Baklava the last time we were at Beirut Grill and it was awesome. This time however, it was a bit of a let down. The Baklava had gone soggy and I don't remember it being as fragrant or nutty as last time. 





So, to sum it up, Beirut Grill is a nice little restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of the Arab street neighborhood which serves fine Lebanese cuisine. The ambience is cozy and the service is friendly and efficient. The belly dancing adds a unique dimension to the dining experience. The choice of dishes is impressive and the quality of food is good although there are issues with consistency considering that I had been more impressed during my first visit. The price can be categorized as mid-range with an approximate price of $18-35 per person. Overall, this is a good restaurant to go to if you want to unwind, soak in some Middle-Eastern culture and sample exotic cuisine. Ideal for couples, colleagues or a group of friends.



My rating for this restaurant would be a 3 out of 5 stars


Beirut Grill
72 Bussorah Street
Singapore 199485
Tel : +(65) 63417728
Mailstop : info@repl.sg
www.beirut.com.sg



Note: This is not a sponsored review. The comments and opinions in this post are solely my own.


2 comments:

  1. Super wow! I love all your photos and I really wish to visit Singapore soon and taste all your recipes. Just like my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn that I always love to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice review and awesome pics. I had the Bamia here last night and it was great.

    ReplyDelete

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