Perched atop of Le Vendôme’s glassed rooftop is Sydney’s, one of Beirut’s longstanding hotspots following a recent refurbishment .
Home to stunning unrivaled views overlooking Beirut’s glistening Manara strip, this upscale yet warm spot caters to all tastes; private luxurious lounge areas for the Cuban cigar aficionados, a grandiose oak bar complete with a rare selection of cognacs and malt whiskies and a collection of the sassiest cocktails in the city for someone like me. Sydney’s has also managed to attract almost every foodie in town and rightfully so, all thanks to its diverse international menu featuring some universal favorites, from tacos to tenderloins .
Last Wednesday my man and I were treated an unforgettable four course meal that courted our taste buds and challenged our intake capacity.
We kicked things off with two of Sydney’s 7 Wonder Cocktails. My man who’s a big fan of mojitos had the fabulously refreshing Apple Mojito made with Zapaca rum and apple sour liqueur while I went with an obvious choice, the Earl Grey Fizz a genius mix of homemade tea syrup and Yellow Label Veuve Cliquot, both spot-on.
We nibbled on some complimentary Edamame and Grissini as we sipped on our drinks.
For starters we shared Sydney’s Burrata served with juicy Heirloom tomatoes and basil, it was just right, the outer shell was a nice firm Mozzarella with a soft rich and creamy textured interior.
We also had the lovely Lentil salad with some string beans and asparagus in a balsamic dressing and the Fresh Artichokes and String Bean salad, a combination we both never had before, it was an interesting first, with the grilled cauliflower and fried white onion rings though I wasn’t a big fan of the chestnuts.
Next we had two signature dishes that put Sydney’s on the map, the first being the succulent Raviolis de cèpes, with grilled wild pleurotes in a delectably rich mushroom sauce.
It paved the way for the best, yes the BEST authentic club sandwich in the city. Layers of juicy sliced chicken, crisp bacon, hard boiled eggs with a secret basil mayonnaise sauce in 3 pairs of toasted cereal bread and a side of Parmesan fries.
As for mains we shared the Beef Tenderloin fit for a king and grilled to absolute perfection, seared on the outside and just perfectly pink and supple on the inside with a side of fresh vegetables and an exquisite sauce.
We also split the Pan-fried Salmon with coucous and white organic quinoa salad served with a dollop of pesto sauce. The salmon was lovely but all in all this entire dish was slightly plain and dry for my liking, I tend to enjoy this particular fish drenched in sweeter sauces.
Dessert presented a dilemma; we couldn’t get ourselves to eat a sight so pretty. So for a while we just stared. I finally gathered the courage to dip my spoon and crack into the Strawberry Comfit Crème Brûlée Tartlet that tasted it exactly how it looked. Decadent.
If you love caramelized pineapples and real vanilla ice cream don’t miss out on the The Pinapple Feuillette.
And finally Sydney’s innovative take on the Baba au Rhum, two cute little babas generously soaked in none other than Cointreau and served with fluffy whipped cream.
Impeccable. Customer is still king at Sydney’s. Yes, most five star establishments are renowned for their grade A service but let’s just say Le Vendome goes that extra mile; attentive staff, well-rounded waiters who tend to your every need without making you even feel they’re there and a whole hearted smile from just about everyone.
Now here’s the part that will surprise you. The prices are reasonable to the extent where an appetizer costs roughly the same as it would in any mid-range restaurant in Beirut such as Casper and Gambini or Metropole, except this is one of Lebanon’s most exclusive 5 star hotels. Nothing that would break bank. The lentil salad or quinoa for example goes from (23,000 to 28,000LL) while pasta or risotto costs between (28,000 and 36,000) and the salmon is 49,000. A meal for two with appetizers and drinks can cost anywhere from 60$ to $75 per person.
Lives up to it’s hype and exceeds exceptions. I’m looking forward to trying out their popular brunch as well.
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