“Maison Beirut will bring a breath of fresh Arabian air to Abu Dhabi.” Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Named after the Lebanese capital, Maison Beirut opened yesterday at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel. Technically that should be re-opened as this Lebanese fine-dining affair was once the Cedar Lounge that has now been given a new name and lease of life. Inspired by contemporary Parisian chic, the revamped restaurant is light and airy with a pretty pink palette and pops of colour proved by traditional wall mounted plates.
Honestly, some may say controversially, I’m not the biggest fan of Lebanese cuisine even though there are plenty of vegetarian choices. I have over the past few years come to enjoy it more and more as I’ve been introduced to different dishes at various venues as well as a visit to Beirut itself.
The interior at Maison Beirut may be stylish but I was disappointed with some of the dishes that I tried with the exception of the trio of eggplant starters. The selection of fresh salads and the grilled halloumi were also tasty but not overly imaginative, as it was a preview we did not select our own dishes so that must be taken into consideration. If you are a fan of hummus then you would be delighted with the three pastel coloured options; avocado, pesto and pimento made with smoked red peppers. I found even the simplest of dishes like the roasted potatoes to be overly garlicky.
Meat eaters can be ensured that the menu is extensive and overall all the dishes are well presented served on either delicate patterned plates or cast iron skillets on wooden boards. Our carnivorous dining companions enjoyed many dishes which included soups, hot and cold mezze, chicken livers, shrimp kibbeh, mixed grill platters and so much more. The clay pot cooking display was theatrical with the chefs taking centre stage with their flaming dishes.
Unfortunately myself and a fellow vegetarian guest were mistakenly served meat in place of cheese which was especially concerning as it was by a manager which doesn’t bode well. I was surprised to be served bread still in a plastic bags in such a high end establishment. Due to time over running we missed dessert which is a shame as it’s my favourite part of any meal, I’m reliably informed that it was a delicious selection of traditional Middle Eastern favourites and fresh seasonal fruit.
Overall the service was attentive, a little overzealous at times with unfinished plates and glasses being removed too quickly. If you like Lebanese cuisine, live traditional style music and live off island this is the place to try without venturing into the city. The restaurant is elegant and the outdoor terrace has great views across Khor Al Maqta and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, ideal for an alfresco meal especially at the moment with the cooler weather.
Location: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. UAE
Telephone: 02 654 3238
Opening Times: Lunch 12 noon – 3pm, Dinner 6pm – 2am
I was invited to the preview event at Maison Beirut. All the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Featured image used courtesy of Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Read more about Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in previous posts Staycation | Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, The Great Steakout | Marco Pierre White, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and No White Walls Exhibition 2015 | Fairmont Bab Al Bahr