Secteur 75: A Top-Notch Restaurant Hidden Inside a Pub

There’s a reason they call it “pub food.” It’s your mundane hash of chicken wings, fries, greasy nachos, cheese-flavored poppers, and maybe the odd quesadilla. Pubs aren’t known to entertain a mature menu worthy of a gourmet. Drinks are the real profit centers, with some quick, light snacks merely fuel to keep the drinking cycle in motion.
That is definitely not the case at Secteur 75. The old house-turned-resto-pub sitting on a corner street along Rue d’Armenie in Mar Mikhael features very lavish chandeliers and gold-framed paintings to juxtapose paint-chipped walls. The graffiti art in one of the venue’s rooms teeters on avant garde, and the furniture varies markedly from table to table. But perhaps the real showpiece is not the captivating aesthetics of Secteur 75. It’s the food.
We came in on Saturday afternoon close to 2pm for the weekly brunch. The regular dining menu—a nice, trim page fastened to a wooden clipboard—is also available, supplementing about a dozen brunch-y dishes. We selected the salmon benedict (19,000LL) and the mushroom-n-Swiss omelet (17,000LL), as well as a grilled calamari salad (24,000LL) from the main menu. No brunch is complete without freshly squeezed fruit, and we opted for citrus in the form of orange and grapefruit.

The calamari salad emerged first, a square platter of seven chargrilled tubes accompanied by tiny tentacles and a bouquet of French lettuce drizzled in lemon juice. The squid was exactly as you’d want it to be—tender yet not chewy, tinted to a rosy pink, dressed up with chives and swimming in a fragrant lemon sauce.

The omelet came next, folded over in crescent fashion and browned to a golden hue without the faintest hint of oil. Ever so light and delicate with real slivers of mushroom and nutty gruyere oozing out with every flourish of the knife, this omelet left nothing to be desired. The substantial bed of greens lying next to it offered a beautiful contrast of textures and colors.

The salmon benedict deserves a papal benediction, it’s so divine. A poached egg sits on a throne of a halved English muffin cushioned by a gently folded slice of smoked salmon. The bread is grill-kissed and cuts swiftly with the blade of the knife. A slight poke at the egg and the white albumen sack gushes forth its yellow yolk, forming a savory pool to be sopped up by the nooks in the bread.

With our appetites thus whetted, we picked up the menu again, our eyes falling on the house specialty: a ricotta-thyme tart (15,000LL). A double-decker slice of quiche generously layered with soft white ricotta and fresh thyme is elevated to bliss levels by a golden-brown, gruyere-infused topping. Served with a mesclun salad with fresh mushrooms and cherry tomatoes slathered in balsamic vinaigrette, this dish is tantalizingly good.

Dessert took us back to brunch for homemade pancakes. Three 10-cm discs fluffed, thickened and cooked to perfection overlap each other in Venn diagram fashion on a large round plate. You could actually savor these pancakes plain, but the accompanying pitchers of real molten chocolate and maple syrup complete this breakfast pastry wonderfully. Swirling the chocolate and maple syrup together into each bite of pancake will actually evoke the taste of caramel-dipped pretzels.

We were rendered utterly speechless by the end of the meal. Who’d have thought a pub would be capable of running a full-service kitchen that dishes up creative, tasty, and satiating nosh? And with brunch this succulent, one could only imagine how dinner would stack up.
Secteur 75 has the makings of a first-rate restaurant and a stellar ambiance to boot. If you’ve overlooked it on your Mar Mikhael escapades, “missing out” doesn’t even start to capture it.

Note: our meal was graciously extended to us by the restaurant management.


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