My name is Ivy and I have a bad bad addiction. It’s been going on for around 6-months now and it doesn’t appear like it’s about to die down anytime soon.
Tucked away deep in The Alleway, at the heart of Beirut’s Gemmayze district, Couqley is no secret. This little as-authentically-French-as-it-can-get little bistro is relentlessly jam-packed with hungry goers who know that this is one spot in town that will put your money where your mouth is, pun intended.
Picture this- all the cliché French dishes you’ve heard about or had on your trips to Paris, now make them available in one cozy spot with a seasoned Executive chef who’s completely hands on, a friendly and well-trained staff, and top it all off with an extensive wine list at retail price and you got yourself one of the most successful formulas in the business.
Yes, Couqley manages to bring out the gluttonous little monster in me because I really really have a hard time deciding what to go for, but if I must choose some favorites here they are:
I usually start things off by indulging myself in the bowl of goodness that is the French Onion Soup Gratinée, topped with a generous amount of melted thick cheese, a dose of comfort food at its best. You’ll start feeling warm and fuzzy all over as you wash it down with some wine and prepare yourself for the sins your about to bask in.
Next I usually go for the divine homemade Foie Gras with strawberry confit and some fig bread or another favorite, the Spicy Calamari salad with Asian vinaigrette. A fantastic way to welcome round two of my little feast.
Here’s when things get tricky, picking my main course. I have three all-time favorites. You absolutely must try the classic favorite Steak Frites, a well-cut faux fillet topped with a savory creamy sauce and fries that put McDonalds to shame.
But surely you can’t have a true French gastronomical experience without trying the succulent to-die-for Duck Confit- another favorite, with hearty sautéed potatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms and an unbelievable garlic based sauce.
But if you’re missing a wholesome home cooked meal then I suggest you go for the Beef Stroganoff made genuinely with tender pieces of beef, creamy tomato sauce and fluffy white rice.
Without further adieu and for the happiest of all endings get the rich Chocolate Fondant or torched Pain Perdue, seriously don’t even try to fight it. I usually feel like I need to get carried out on a stretcher when I’m done, but I come back for my fix and do it all over again every time.
Price Range: $30-$50 per person with wine
The Verdict: A Culinary Orgasm
All Images belong to Couqley.