The New York Times is soooo loving Beirut right about now..in a recent article titled Top Chefs and Restaurateurs Are Drawn to Beirut, they write,
AFTER more than 30 years of civil war, invasion and occupation, Lebanon is prospering again, and the downtown area of Beirut, the capital, has risen from the rubble. Among more than 400 projects are a new waterfront area, parks, world-class hotels, high-end shops and restored monuments, churches, and mosques.
And to help the city reclaim its title as the Paris of the Middle East are more than 100 restaurants, some involving notable chefs and restaurateurs.
The article continued to say..
But while some Lebanese might dare to try Joel Robuchon’s eel with foie gras, when it comes to their own cuisine, tradition rules. You’ll find croissants seasoned with the spice blend zataar in bakeries, but that’s about as far as most chefs dare to innovate. A few restaurants are adding Asian or Mexican dishes to Lebanese menus, but generally it’s hands off when it comes to classics like hummus.
“The Lebanese like routine — it’s comforting after what they have gone through,” said Philippe Massoud, the chef and owner of Ilili in New York, who is from Beirut but who left during the civil war.
You see..I’m not sure if I entirely agree with that statement…what do you think? Are the Lebanese conservative when it comes to their cuisine? I think experimentation with traditional dishes is quite common here..for example I’m pretty sure I’ve had Spicy Hummus at Al Balad in Downtown, and a complete Lebanese fusion meal at Locanda in Jbeil…
Whatever the case, it’s nice to see some positive press about Beirut in the news!
Below are some photos that I found of Lebanese fusion cuisine at Locanda in Jbeil..you can see more photos from this photo stream here.