I feel confident referring to Casper and Gambini’s as an institution in Lebanon today. It’s mastered the art of consistency and has managed to strike the perfect balance between wholesome high-end cafe cuisine and excellent service. So this post isn’t about how much I like Casper and Gambini’s that’s already been established, rather it’s a review of their recently launched new menu.
I visited Casper and Gambini’s at their Dunes Verdun branch for the first time and I absolutely loved lunching on their bustling patio. I worked out quite the appetite on a photo shoot that day and managed to wolf down the grissini and their traditional complimentary labneh balls drizzled with thyme as I always do.
The first new item my friend and I chose was the delectable Crusted Eggplant Parmesan and when I say delectable I mean so good you may want to have one as a starter and another as a main dish. Casper and Gambini’s put their own twist on this otherwise classic dish by crusting the actual slices of eggplant with Parmesan and then lightly frying them. On top sits a generous helping of melted mozzarella, basil and a fantastico roasted tomato sauce. As I cut through the arrangement the ingredients blended together so harmoniously. This one makes it on my very highly-recommended list.
To counter the calories of the Eggplant Parmesan we had the crab bites, essentially made up of two portions of a mayonnaise-based mix of shredded crabmeat served on a thinly sliced toasted white bread and a side of green house salad. If you’re calorie counting then this dish is a good light and fresh option on their list of starters.
I knew I wanted a sandwich for mains but the new additions left me confused, how was I supposed to choose between a Philly Cheese Steak or a Chicken Quesadilla sandwich? Our waiter sensed my predicament and passionately recommended I try their Provolone Steak Sandwich, or what I now would call the most valuable player of the group. Be warned, this is not your average sandwich, this is a game changer.
Picture this; slow-grilled Australian beef medium cooked with a pink center, crisp smoked bacon, melted provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and horseradish mayonnaise all inside a fluffy freshly baked cheese-flavored ciabatta The sandwich was soft enough to bite through while holding everything together so well, none of that soggy falling-out business. The flavors did a little dance in my mouth as I struggled to finish the mammoth thing. It was challenging. But legendary.
My friend opted for the Gourmet Mini Sliders which I have to say are as creative as it gets. Three mini burgers, the first a Mediterranean one with Halloumi cheese, a classic with provolone and a fiery Mexican one complete with avocado cream, mango and Emmental cheese. I favored the halloumi one and my friend raved about the Mexican.
Price: On the higher end of the scale for a daytime cafe/restaurant; 2 appetizers, soft drinks and two mains for 97,000LL.
Verdict: Five star hotel service and a new menu that deserves all the hype. Casper and Gambini’s is revived and raising the bar.
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