Abu Dhabi has a lot much to offer in terms of leisure, especially Yas Island, also known as Abu Dhabi’s leisure island. Apart from striking landscapes and exciting tourist spots, it has some of the best culinary experiences. Beirut Sur Mer is about enjoying Lebanese food by the sea. This restaurant is awarded a Bib Gourmand for its classics ranging from mezze to Mashawi. Portions here are generous and prices are reasonable.
The large colourful and contemporary dining room also boasts a beautiful beachfront terrace. The interior walls are striking, hand-painted blossom decorates the walls while the space is draped with botanicals and accessories, outside pink and blue patterned seats are complemented by large terracotta pots filled with vibrant flowers. It’s an ideal spot for post-cultural refuelling after visiting the nearby Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Every time I come to the Middle East, I drink so much pomegranate juice. This fruit rich in antioxidant is delicious no where else.
Garlic and citrus flavoured white beans, slow braised octopus chunks with zereshk
Zereshk or barberries add a mouthful of sweet and sour to any of your favourite recipes and can be mistaken to be cranberries, and use of octopus could be Mediterranean. But this mezze is definitely Middle Eastern origin with the liberal use of aromatics and spices. And it quite unusual to offer octopus braised instead of grilled. The snacks (marinated olives, zaatar with olive oil and pickles) and pita bread were served at the same time.
This cold mezze was really sour, not refreshing but sour. The citrus dressing for the octopus overpowered the taste of the octopus and cannellini beans. And it did not help with the sourness of the zereshk. It could use with more garlic. But it could be the authentic flavour for the Lebanese, who am I to judge.
Chicken taouk, meat skewer, 2 kofta & 2 pieces of lamb rack, Beirut Sur Mer nuts spread
The easiest way to have a taste of everything on the grill menu is to order the mixed grill. It came with chicken taouk (the delicious-looking orange-red skewer), a skewer of beef cubes, a couple of lamb chops, and lamb kofta (hidden under the lamb chops), all grilled to perfection.
If you are wondering why the portions seemed to be different from what was described, that’s because our driver decided not to join us at the table and waited in the car. We asked the kitchen to pack some of the meat and pita for him to partake later.
Markook or saj bread is a kind of Middle Eastern unleavened flatbread common in the Levant and the Arabian peninsula; they smeared the signature Beirut sur Mer nut spread on the markook and it was delicious. Together with the red onions and aromatics, the spread hit the spot when it comes to the exotic flavours of the Middle East.
Spicy kofta on arayess bread and side lemon
Kafta (kofta in Lebanese) is a Lebanese kabob made with ground beef, parsley, onions and some spices. This dish can be eaten raw which is very popular in Lebanon, or cooked (grilled or sautéed). Arayes is a popular street food in Lebanon that is basically kofta meat stuffed inside pita bread and then grilled or oven baked. You can try this at home with sausage meat in pita bread.
Of course you would not get the spices right; this orfali encapsulated (IMHO) why they could be a Bib Gourmand. The meat was well spiced and grilling it on a pita let the juices flowed into the bread. It made the final product so juicy and delicious, we wanted more.
This was only half of the bread, as we kept the other half for our driver.
4 pieces of grilled jumbo prawns, over a bed of watercress, fresh zaatar, onion and molasses
Whenever I see the word “molasses”, I become alert and look out for additional sugar in my diet. I didn’t see the “bed of watercress, fresh zaatar, onion and molasses” anywhere on the presentation. What I saw was huge tiger prawns well grilled and hanging on the mini skewer grill.
Za’atar spice is a blend of savoury dried herbs like oregano, marjoram or thyme, and toasted earthy spices like cumin and coriander, with sesame seeds, salt and sumac. The condiments provided were not zaatar based.
Slow braised shawarma, rolled and golden fried in potato crust, tahini salsa
Last but not least, we ordered some croquettes because we thought there weren’t enough food for the three of us. The substantial croquettes were filled with chopped shawarma of beef and lamb and wrapped with a chickpea crust that made it tasted like a luxe non-veg version of the falafel. So delicious that Princess had two pieces.
Beirut Sur Mer offers the finest service and a vast menu that will leave you wanting to try more plates of mezze, but we have one more stop in Abu Dhabi and could not linger any longer. And the price would not burn a big hole in your wallet.
Beirut Sur Mer
Jacques Chirac St, Al Sa’Diyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tel : +971 54 395 4000
Visited Nov 2022
Michelin Abu Dhabi Guide Bib Gourmand 2023 (inaugural)
#abudhabi #beirutsurmer #bibmichelinstar2023 @beirutsurmer
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