We went to Byblos for our anniversary dinner. We shortlisted Japanese and Lebanese cuisines for dinner, and we settled for Lebanese, and Byblos made us feel very happy about our choice.
We were given a warm welcome by a Lebanese steward! He claimed that Byblos served genuinely, undoubtedly, and profoundly authentic Lebanese food. We did believe him and led him to help us choose our dishes, which he was extremely happy to help with. We also noticed that the chefs working in the open kitchen were Lebanese. In fact, the place is owned and managed by the Head Chef, Mr. Ammar, who is Lebanese. Even his business card smells of heavenly aromatic spices. Thereafter, we did not have an iota of disbelief about the authenticity of the place and the food.
While the kid asked for the Chicken Bouillon soup, we went for the Byblos Mixed Grill. The Chicken Bouillon soup was just the right taste for a 4 year old, non-spicy, a little creamy, and served with croutons. The Mix Grill that we ordered was a platter of Lamb Chops, Lamb Kofta, Lamb Tikka, Shish Taouk (chicken kabab), and Arayess. Arayess is pita stuffed with meat. The grill platter was served with a basket of fluffy pita breads.It is a slightly leavened bread that has a pocket that can be stuffed with various fillings and had. I must mention their Pita breads. The Pita that Byblos served was warm, soft, and puffed up. They looked and tasted fresh. The kid absolutely loved them, not to mention that we finished the entire basket within a few minutes of it being placed on the table. Coming back to the grill, the meat was good, soft and well marinated. However, the entire platter was strewn with french fries, and we wondered why. The steward explained that people in Lebanon loved fries with their grills. It is almost an inevitable part of a grilled platter.
We were hoping that there would be some hummus to go with the Pita and the grill, but since there was none, we ordered a bowl. It looked wonderful with a creamy yet firm consistency, and there was a well of olive oil in the center of the bowl. We licked it clean until the bowl remained just a white bowl.
For those who don’t have Lebanese food often, tasting the Shawarma is inevitable when they try the cuisine. Therefore, we ordered a Shawarma, and it appeared soon with another basket of Pitas. We actually returned the Pita basket because we were almost getting full and wanted to eat only the Shawarma. The chicken Shawarma had just the right amount of spices and it was served with garlic mayonnaise. As expected, there were french fries on the side, and this time we were not surprised. Haha! The thin slices of the chicken were good to be stuffed in the pita but we had it just plain and they tasted just wonderful. Even the little one tried it and asked for more of it repeatedly.
I must mention that we tried a drink Ayran which is almost close to the Indian Buttermilk except that the yogurt is more sour and has garlic.
We didn’t order any desserts but Mr.Ammar sent over some Baklava and also asked us to taste a new dessert called Halawa Alkeshta that they were introducing. The pastry chef came over to describe how he made the Baklava. He mentioned how he uses chopped pistachios in between layers of filo (dough for making baklava) and holds it firm with sugar syrup. The Baklava was medium sweet and the chopped pistachios in the center gave it a soft crunch. The other new item on their dessert menu was soft sweetened cheese rolled within a sweet coating and garnished with chopped nuts and seeds. There are some desserts that almost put you into a sweet coma, and this was one of those. It melted in the mouth and the sweet Arabic aromas lingered on for long. We loved it, and we told the Head Chef how much we loved it!
Overall, we had a great dinner at Byblos. They are warm to their guests, and actually, they have a very loyal following. By the time we left, we saw a lot of guests coming in who were familiar faces to the staff there, and that included Indians as well as Arabs and other expats. There was another elderly couple sitting at the table adjacent to us who mentioned how much they loved Byblos and why they loved it!
One last nugget: ‘Byblos’ is an old and famous coastal town in Lebanon, and it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The restaurant is named after the place.
You must head to the restaurant if you are craving for authentic Middle Eastern food, or if you are keen to experiment with a new cuisine.
100 ft Road, Indiranagar