Showing posts from September, 2013

Restaurant Price Revolution in Lebanon

I have a theory about hyper-inflated prices at restaurants in Lebanon. Why are they at least twice as expensive as they should be? Why is it that Lebanese who travel to Europe or the United States come back raving about how cheap and affordable restaurants abroad are compared to their Lebanese counterparts? Case in point: Stockholm is the latest food addition to Gemmayze. A self-declared Swedish restaurant, Stockholm features a “Bakad Potatis,” which it describes as “a delicious baked potato stuffed with a delightful special sauce packed with shrimps, ham, chicken curry, or tuna.” How much do you suppose one of these glorified potatoes would set you back? $5? $10 if the restaurant’s particularly fancy? Sorry, guess again. A glorified jacket potato $20 whopping smackeroos. Yes, you read correctly. $20 for a potato and your choice of a soft drink. A potato. A spud. A root. Produced in overabundance locally. The base food of the poor in 18 th century Ireland. I can’

Batchig: A Truly First-Rate Restaurant That Boasts Excellent Food

Over the weekend, we had the great fortune to lunch at Batchig, sister restaurant to the famous Mayrig. The Armenian restaurant is tucked away on a side street of Antelias, immediately before Burj Al-Hamam if you’re driving northbound from Beirut. The red building catches your attention because such a color is rare for a façade in Lebanon, but you don’t start to comprehend how spacious and soothing the interior is until you push open the door and walk past the threshold. We arrived Saturday at 2pm, peak lunch hour. Most of the dining guests seem to be middle-class Armenian families who live nearby. There are three spaces: the ground floor, the upper floor (which isn’t receiving guests just yet), and the terrace. The head waiter Elie received us warmly and seated us inside. We started to take in our surroundings: white-washed walls, white floor, aluminum tables, and wooden chairs. In short, modern and minimalist décor. The ambiance is organic and comforting. Waiters are buzzing in