Last week, I finally had the opportunity to try downtown Beirut's latest hotspot and cafe, Bhar (or spice in Arabic), a few steps past pub row on Uruguay Street. I popped in around mid-morning and noticed a breakfast buffet, evocative of the ones you see at hotels, featuring jams, cheeses, deli meats, veggies, and dried fruit. Not really fancying breakfast, I made my way to the dessert display, three racks of dainty French treats, upon which my eyes beheld an enticing French-Lebanese fusion: circular disks of Turkish delight (or Lebanese lokum) adorned with crumbs of crushed cashew and delicately arranged on a bed of sweetened cheese inside a buttery sablet tart. The pastry was as delicious as it appeared, so rich and delectable that I cut it up like pie and enjoyed each exquisite triangle.

The American coffee I ordered came in a ceramic cup molded in the form of a flimsy polystyrene plastic cup, the kind you use at water dispensers, that had warped from the hot liquid it contained. It was quite creative and surprisingly ergonomic to hold.

I can't wait to go back!



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