Divvy Dividing & Conquering Beirut's Food Scene


I still remember my first visit to Divvy within a month of its unveiling. The year was 2014; the season, autumn. We had just returned from our honeymoon in Italy, and Lebanese social media was plastered with images of the fresh, relaxed interior of Divvy. Tucked away on a side street stemming from Armenia Street in Mar Mikhael, the restaurant promotes the concept of sharing among guests.

While no culture is perhaps more familiar with communal eating than the Lebanese, Divvy is different in that its menu isn’t mezza. Straddling specialties from around the world, from teriyaki beef to braised chicken on mash, from battered brie bites with blueberry dip to Tex-Mex guac with chips, Divvy's all about tasting a bit of this and a bit of that.

The concept, which has undergone progressive fine-tuning in response to avid customer feedback, took off like wildfire. Folks rallied around the incredibly delicious eats Divvy dished up, even if portion division wasn’t always so clean and clear-cut.

Within a year, a second Divvy popped up in The Village Dbayeh, and thereafter, Divvy started mushrooming across the F&B canvas in Beirut. A third outlet set up shop in The Backyard Hazmieh, next to its so-called rival Roadster, whose rebrand many supposed was modeled on Divvy’s exact identity.

ABC Achrafieh welcomed the fourth branch in late 2016, and this summer, ABC Verdun will house the fifth. If the expansion of the Divvy empire is the ultimate business criterion, then Divvy’s success is irrefutable. Five branches in less than three years of establishment is unheard of in Lebanon’s torrential F&B industry.

But it’s no shocker that Divvy has been so warmly embraced by the Lebanese public. It’s personable. You come here, and you immediately connect with the waiter, who introduces himself by name, his favorite Divvy dish, and an unusual personal fact.

Inside, the restaurant feels all at once spacious and cozy, illuminated and dim, American diner meets bar. Leather hide chairs, wooden tables, ceramic plates piled in the center, and a tin kettle bearing eating utensils offer a glimpse into the Divvy etiquette – make yourself at home. And get comfy with your dining partners, because you’re going to be divvying each other’s platters.

When you do, here’s what you want to order. 

Start with the fresh mozzarella bites caching a core of rocket leaves and sun-dried tomatoes, sided by a cherry tomato salad with pesto (18,000 LL).


Fresh mozzarella wraps


Buffalo chicken tortilla chips are exactly what they sound like: round, crispy chips cradling breaded chicken doused in Buffalo sauce and accompanied by a cup of whipped sour cream with chives (14,750 LL). Addictive!


Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Chips with sour cream


Craving pizza? Normally, I reserve my pizza consumption to a dedicated pizzeria or Italian trattoria. But Divvy quashed my reservations with its Neapolitan thin crust, dough dusted in semolina flour and slathered with a slightly sweet homemade tomato sauce. Pepperoni never tasted so gourmet (23,000 LL).


Pepperoni pizza dusted with oregano


If the conscience takes a front seat, partake in the Divvy Salad, boasting baby spinach tossed with a generous helping of grilled shrimp in a zesty vinaigrette (33,000 LL).



Divvy Salad


The Beef Teriyaki is a carnivore’s delight: tender chunks of glazed beef with scallions are served alongside a bowl of jasmine steamed rice (27,500 LL). Move over PF Chang’s: Divvy’s a very real contender in this Pan-Asian dish offering.


Teriyaki beef with jasmine white rice


For a hearty main, opt for the Divvy Braised Chicken, the juices of whose flesh are preserved by a thin layer of peel-off skin. Beneath it all, mashed potatoes, steamed spinach and ricotta cheese, presented in a cast-iron skillet (26,500 LL).

Braised chicken on mash, spinach and ricotta


The noble thing to do here would be to stop and forego dessert all together. But wait, you’re sharing. Forget the fuss about calories. Relish in Mama’s Apple Pie – this ain’t no dainty tarte aux pommes or tarte tatin. This is homey American pie with a crispy, buttery exterior and layer upon layer of softened cinnamon-kissed apple slices (14,000 LL).


Mama's Apple Pie


The baked cheesecake comes crowned with mixed berries – real fruit, not coulis (14,000 LL). Satisfying is the ratio of graham cracker base to cream cheese. In the world of cheesecake, that proportion is a make or break.

Baked cheesecake crowned with stewed berries


But what will likely elicit a flurry of oohs and aahs at your table is the Nutella Lava Melt, which is precisely what its name describes: molten chocolate enriched with Nutella and bound inside a wall of chocolate crumb (14,000 LL). On top, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream; and swimming around the radially symmetric structure, a moat of liquid chocolate. This baby’s glorious and an ode to the “death by chocolate” philosophy.


A decadent Nutella Lava Melt


It’s no mystery Divvy (Mar Mikhael) fetches a whopping 4.6/5.0 on Zomato, an amalgamation of 986 reviews, 3,114 photos, and 1,209 votes. I’ve never seen such volume of feedback for any establishment in Lebanon. Folks come here for the tantalizing grub, original cocktails – both alcoholic and virgin – and the 4-7 PM happy hour, which slashes by half prices on drinks and appetizers.

Heck, I’d come here for the savvy service alone. And the braised chicken. That stuff’s incredible.


Multiple Outlets
Mar Mikhael: 01-444 020

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wild Revolution: 20 Years of Tailor-Made Travel

Bitfood: Streamlined On-Demand Food Delivery

Wesley's Wholesale: Making A Difference in Our Community