Summer Sets In At Paper Moon Beirut
If there’s a season to cherish in Lebanon, it’s the season of the terrace. The season when it would be foolish, borderline criminal, to dine indoors. The season when fresh, crisp air lulls you to pitch a tent on a restaurant terrace and camp out for as long as the management doesn’t start throwing you scowls.
And Paper Moon Beirut’s embracing that season with Aperol Spritz, peach Bellinis, and over a dozen new summery menu items.
Nestled on a quiet Achrafieh street a stone’s throw from Hotel Albergo and Le Sushi Bar, the Milanese dining institution features an expansive terrace with comfortable seating, massive white parasols, and informed waiters who specialize in vigilance.
Last Saturday, we gathered with a group of like-minded gourmets over a selection of season-suitable specials, and rare was the comment that wasn’t in utter praise or fawning of Chef Elio’s flair.
An ethereal asparagus and cheese flan crowned with crispy onion chips and encircled with balsamic reduction was easily my favorite of the antipasti crowd (LBP 23,000). Lighter than a quiche and evocative of a muffin, this little bundle is the perfect palate pleaser to get your appetite in full gear.
|Asparagus and cheese flan|
For aperitivo, consider the assorted platter of charcuterie, cheese, and marinated veggies (LBP 57,000). Packing in bresaola, salami, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and artichoke hearts in olive oil, this plate pairs marvelously with a glass of chilled grape derivative.
Consider complementing it with a simple pizza marinara, Italy’s ode to fresh ingredients and the united powers of tomato, garlic, olive oil and basil (LBP 18,000).
|A slice of heaven -- aka pizza marinara|
As though in reverence to Ramadan—at least in its crescent form, if not in its pork contents—a hinged calzone sandwich comes loaded with molten mozzarella, ham, lettuce and fresh tomato (LBP 23,000).
Primi piatti are perhaps the centerpiece of an Italian meal. Can you imagine a spread all’italiano without pasta or risotto? Heresy.
I’ve always had a weakness for those delicate pillows of potato known as gnocchi, and Paper Moon’s green variety swimming in gorgonzola cream sauce with caramelized walnuts is absolutely dreamy (LBP 21,000).
|Gnocchi in gorgonzola|
So, too, is the penne in a zesty tomato sauce with chunks of peeled eggplant and mozzarella di bufala garnished with basil (LBP 22,000). Another tribute to the “beauty in simplicity” philosophy Italians are all too well-versed in.
|Penne al pomodoro, melanzane e mozzarella di bufala|
How about an al dente risotto chock full of spring vegetables (LBP 30,000)? Here, again, asparagus plays a main role alongside zucchini and funghi.
If there’s still heart and longing for the savory, consider pounded chicken breast bathing in a fragrant lemon sauce animated with ginger and sage (LBP 26,000). The accompanying mashed potatoes make this dish a no-frills comfort food experience.
|Pounded chicken breast in a lemon sauce with desiccated ginger and sage|
For a departure from the traditional costoletta di vitello alla Milanese, Paper Moon offers you the option of the veal chop in all its grilled meaty character sided by cubes of roasted potato (LBP 57,000). Calling all carnivores – no delicate veggies here!
|Veal cutlet with roasted potato cubes and rosemary|
As far as I’m concerned, the duo desserts of summer are panna cotta with a jellified mango cap (LBP 16,000), and lemon pie with a scoop of chocolate ice cream (LBP 14,000). Both refresh, restore, and take the edge off any type of serious nonsense weighing you down.
|Mango panna cotta with raspberry coulis|
|Lemon pie with chocolate ice cream|
Because if they don’t, another hour or two on the terrace will do the trick. Hell, why not hang around until the (paper) moon comes out!
Ferneini St., Achrafieh
Open Mon-Sun: 12:30 - 3:30 PM, 7:30 - 11:30 PM