From the Coast of Lebanon to Bangalore, Grand Mercure Celebrates Lebanese Food in Style






Foodies Delight
From the Coast of Lebanon to Bangalore, Grand Mercure Celebrates Lebanese Food in Style



The foodie in me always looks forward to try new, better and interesting cuisines. Recently, I heard about the ongoing Lebanese food festival at Grand Mercure, Bangalore. I have always heard about the richness of Lebanese food but never got a chance to get my hands on it.  On a Sunday evening, I decided to march on to Grand Mercure and taste the variety of Lebanese cuisines that I have never done before.

Lebanon is an exotic country located on the Eastern Coast of the Mediterranean. Like India, the culture of Lebanon is infused with cultures from various empires. From the Ottoman Empire to the French Empire, the taste of Lebanon has been widely influenced. From the Ottoman Empire the Lebanese menu changed to include olive oil, fresh bread and Baklava, a famous dessert. From the French they included many of their famous patisseries.

I think God had stored a perfect Sunday evening for me. A hint of drizzle, cool breeze kissing your cheeks and having the tables reserved at the garden area, couldn’t have asked for more. The moment me and my colleague stepped in the Grand Mercure, we could feel the richness, the sophistication oozing in the air. .












The restaurant was decked up beautifully around the Lebanon theme and the traditional music just added charm to the entire set up. Mr. Vijay David, Executive Chef, Grand Mercure welcomed us with a big smile. He guided us to our reserved table in the garden area, where I could see a live counter of Shawerma and other delicacies. Trust me when I say, it is delightful to watch them make your food live with so much of passion and dedication. 


                                                       Chef Vijay David

It’s not every day that u meet a wonderful personality in the form of Chef and host. Chef David makes sure the guests are comfortable and at ease. He specializes in the Lebanese food and the whole menu for the ongoing festival is his creation and dedication. Conversing with Chef David, we made a point to know more about the Lebanese food. He said ‘There are very limited cuisines for the main course as Lebanese people prefer more of grills, rolls and a rich combination of desserts. The amount of lemon used in authentic Lebanese food is very high as the local people prefer high lemon content. But here, we have decreased the lemon content to suit the Indian taste’.

We started with the live counter food. The first on the table was Chicken Shawerma, followed by Rubian Meshwi. Well, who doesn’t like Shawerma? Here, the Chicken Shawerma was something I haven’t had in a long long time. It was perfect in every sense. I am huge admirer of sea food and the Rubian Meshwi (grilled prawns marinated with Lebanese spices) was a delight to watch when presented on the table. The Prawns were grilled to perfection; the deep brown colour of the prawn spoke thousand words. In no time, we finished the first plate and requested Chef to get one more plate of Rubian Meshwi.


                                                   Chicken Shawerma










                                                      Rubian Meshwi


In starters, there was Arnabit Makhali (Fried Cauliflower) and Mucver (Zucchini fritters) for the vegetarians. And for the non-vergetarians, there was Lamb Kibbeh (Mutton Kebabs) and Sheesh Touk (tender Chicken pieces with tri peppers marinated in Lebanese spices).

Arnabit Makhali (Fried Cauliflower) was pleasing to eyes and we expected to be same with the taste but we found it to be bland. The Zucchini fritters definitely made up for the former. It was very soft, cleverly played with spices striking a perfect balance. 





Arnabit Makhali (Fried Cauliflower) and Mucver (Zucchini fritters)


Following on, Mutton Kebabs and Sheesh Touk were lip-smacking to say the least. Bonus points to Chef for Lamb Kibbeh (Mutton Kebabs), it melts in mouth with every bite and gives a lingering sense to my taste buds. The Sheesh Touk was equally brilliant.




Lamb Kibbeh (Mutton Kebabs) and Sheesh Touk (tender Chicken pieces with tri peppers marinated in Lebanese spices).


For the main course, Chef David had put up his best. An army of veg and non-veg delicacies was lined up waiting to be cherished. For vegetarians, there was – Batata Hara (Spicy Potatoes), Bamia Bil Zayt (Okra stew with tomatoes and garlic), Makhloota (Lebanese stew of mixed beans), Koosa Charp (Stuffed Zucchini) and Majaddra Pilaf (Lentil and Cilantro Rice). And for non-vegetarians, there was – Dijaj m’quali (Moroccan style chicken), Batenjen ablama (stuffed eggplant with lamb) and Samak Hara (Lebanese Chili Fish).


Samak Hara (Lebanese Chili Fish)



Batenjen ablama (stuffed eggplant with lamb)


Dijaj m’quali (Moroccan style chicken)


Makhloota (Lebanese stew of mixed beans) and Batata Hara (Spicy Potatoes) 



Koosa Charp (Stuffed Zucchini) and Bamia Bil Zayt (Okra stew with tomatoes and garlic)



Majaddra Pilaf (Lentil and Cilantro Rice)


Special mention to Dijaj m’quali (Moroccan style chicken), Batenjen ablama (stuffed eggplant with lamb) and Majaddra Pilaf (Lentil and Cilantro Rice). Commendable job by Chef David for such lip-smacking delicacies. I don’t need a reason to eat chicken and say good about it but honestly speaking Moroccan style chicken was simply outstanding. The chicken was marinated for 48 hours in the spices and this is what I called the X factor. The flavour was powerful yet not dominating the taste of chicken. To maintain this level of expertise, hats off to Chef David. Another master class was Batenjen ablama (stuffed eggplant with lamb). So unique in its creation, so exceptional in its presentation, so remarkable in its hold of colour and spices and truly lip-smacking taste. Last but not the least, Majaddra Pilaf (Lentil and Cilantro Rice). The strong flavour of ghee along with cilantro makes it stand apart.

And as I always say, no menu can be completed without the desserts. There was a wide spread of eye pleasing desserts on the table. Baklava ( Phyllo dough stacked with honey and nuts), Maamoul bil joze(Semolina tart filled with walnuts), Riz bil haleeb(Lebanese rice pudding), Knafi ( Sweet Cheese Pastry) and Moulahbia(Milk Pudding) to name a few of the desserts. All the desserts were brilliant in its own way, though I felt little less sweetness.








More details about the ongoing Lebanese food festival at 12th main restaurant, Grand Mercure:

  • Price: 999 + Taxes
  • Beverage:  Traditional Lebanese liqueur Arak and wine
  • Timing: 7.00 – 11.00 pm
  • Venue: 12th Main, Grand Mercure Bangalore, 12th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bangalore- 560034
  • Date: August 1st to August 10th
  • Contact for reservations - 91-80-4512 1212






Suman

Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

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