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Byblos: A Refined Take On Lebanese Dining

Byblos in Heliopolis is set to take the world of Lebanese cuisine by storm with its grand reopening after recent refurbishments, and we were invited to test out their new delicious menu…

Lebanese food has become something of a craze in Cairo in recent times. The market has been filled with a variety of different Lebanese eateries, and as with any food trend, this has led to the age old issue of quantity over quality. With the Lebanese goldrush comes a deluge of subpar restaurants serving watery yoghurt and burnt kofta. Step in Byblos. Located in Heliopolis, Byblos has been a Lebanese food landmark, and with their recent renovations and new chef, we were invited to try out the new and improved Byblos.

On stepping into the building, we were immediately struck by the decor. Tasteful splashes of blue and pink cover the furniture and the walls, and a charming faux-rustic theme makes for a cozy and comfortable setting for a full meal, or a relaxed shisha with little bites. Once we were handed the drinks menu, we were rather pleased to find a rather comprehensive selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including a good selection of red and white wine.

Now, we at CairoScene are notoriously indecisive when it comes to anything food related, so we left it up to our hosts to decide what we would be eating, and thank god we did, because it was delightful. At first, we were served a selection of hot and cold mezzes, which they call a farsha. We first ventured our forks towards their take on a sambousa, which is more of a spring roll, really. The pastry was perfectly crunchy, and the cheese was perfect in texture and temperature; still hot enough that it flowed like liquid, but not so hot as to scald every tastebud in your mouth.

The kobeba was also delicious, with a golden brown exterior, and a warm, perfectly spiced interior. However, the best part of the mezze had to be the makanek. Small sausages spiced and cooked in wine, they were bursting with flavour and practically melted in the mouth. For the less alcohol-inclined of us, you can have the sausages cooked in a pomegranate juice instead of wine. They also served us the Byblos salad, which is their own take on the classic tabouleh, but with apples instead of tomatoes, giving the traditional dish a fresh and delicious revamp.

Although the mezzes were delicious, we were careful to make sure that we saved enough space for the main course, and thank goodness we did. We were served a selection of grill items that arrived piping hot and got our mouths watering immediately. The shish tawook was wonderfully cooked throughout, and the veal kofta was soft and delicious. The ribs, however, were out of this world. They were perfectly cooked and spiced, and each bite practically fell apart in the mouth.

After saving just enough space for dessert, we were served a selection of traditional desserts, and immediately tucked in. The konafa with cream was freshly baked to order, and the crunch of the outside went perfectly with the soft, cool middle. We were also served a plate of small crepes with ice cream in the centre. Although they were small and bite-sized, they were packed with flavour, and the soft touch of rosewater made a welcome addition to pillowy dough.

Overall, Byblos seems to be set to turn the Lebanese scene on its head. Bringing the perfect mixture of decor, ambiance, food quality, and variety, it looks set to bring something new to a market that has been rather over-saturated in recent years. We can’t give Byblos enough of a recommendation for someone who is looking for a fresh twist on Lebanese classics.

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