The Hangout Is More Than Just A Hangout

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying the tastes of Gemmayze's latest addition to the casual-chic dining scene, The Hangout. The restaurant, self-described as a grill/bistrot café, replaces its predecessor, The Porter House, in a majestic century's old residence, complete with massive foyer, high ceilings, Arabic arches, and very capacious rooms. 

The space immediately puts you at ease: round red chairs with wooden trim, wooden tables, a small bar, a salad bar station, a mini library of foodie books, and an impressive wine cellar that houses close to 200 different wines, tribute to General Manager Salim Heleiwa's oenological past--he spent 16 years in Northern California's wine valley! What I particularly liked is how the restaurant, aside from its main dining room, features side rooms that can tuck away private dining parties or even a romantic tete-a-tete. Recipe for cosy!

The menu is best defined as French with some continental influences. To tickle our taste buds, we were presented with thickly-sliced sourdough as well as a generous plate of Teta's pickled goods (for those who wish, they are also available for purchase on your way out). 

Examining the menu, I found myself, for the first time, allured by every salad on offer, from the bresaola, parmesan, and rocca affair to the classic caprese. Even the salad bar was inviting, lined with many jars of the pickled delicacies in addition to traditional salad bar pickings. We had the chevre chaud, which blended orange and apricot zest into balls of soft warmed goat cheese resting on mini toast bread, making the leafy greens a mere afterthought.

Goat cheese balls alongside a green salad

We moved on to a no-frills salmon tartare dressed simply in olive oil. The hot starters though really made my stomach leap for joy: the chicken rolls, similar to taquitos without the Mexican spices, integrated shreds of chicken, soy and ginger. The sauteed halloumi with mushrooms were tasty, light, and perhaps the best presentation of the salty cheese I've ever had anywhere.

Salmon tartare

Chicken rolls

Halloumi and mushrooms

The menu is extremely vast in the range of its main courses: five pasta dishes, a mushroom risotto, boeuf stroganoff, veal escalope, lamb shanks, beef and chicken gourmet burgers, a steak sandwich, and two clubs. Flip the page and you'll see "les grillades", everything from cote and filet de boeuf, steak frites, magret de canard, pavé de mérou (grouper), prawns, to salmon. There's a plate for every palate, craving, and budget (pastas start at $10, and the grills graze $30). 

My filet de boeuf, requested medium, was thick, juicy, and aesthetically pleasing in its cube-like form. No sauce is required (though there are four), and I smeared a dab of Dijon every now and then to complement the flavors of the steak. The side skewers of grill-kissed veggies as well as the skin-on steak fries, whose crispy exterior give way to a fondant core, also vied for my attention.

Filet mignon with grilled veggies and steak fries

We couldn't but relish a slice of the restaurant's French toast, smothered in caramel and decorated with kiwi slices. The chocolate cake had a mousselike core and tasted heavenly with the vanilla bean ice cream. The citrus fruit salad, served in a martini glass, was the perfect end to a lavish festival of flavors and tastes.

The Hangout is more than the oft-frequented den its name inspires: it's a proper restaurant with a substantial food and beverage offering and an excellent waitstaff. It's the ideal setting for a dinner rendezvous in a classy but certainly not uptight ambiance.


  1. Looks delicious. Ill try when I get back to Beirut

  2. Jeezz they couldn't pay you enough for this! Excellent job Danielle, you should seriously go professional!


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