Grand Hills Revives With The Opening of Little Paris
At last, the revival of the opulent Grand Hills has arrived! The Luxury Collections Hotel & Spa, enjoying a corner perch over Broumana and resembling a gated residential community, could be likened to a sleeping palace. Stroll through one of its expansive lobbies, decked with gold-trimmed Louis XIV armchairs, embossed marble murals, oak furniture, and antique specimens. You’d think you were walking through the deserted kingdom of a Saudi prince.
It really doesn’t get more luxurious than this, and the stately restaurants tucked inside are no less frilly.
Chez Alain is a classy French brasserie that peers out over the mountains. There's even a miniature Eiffel Tower replica to transport you to the City of Lights as you butter your sliced baguette and ponder over entrées of foie gras and tartare de saumon.
|Paris in Broumana|
|An entrée sampler|
Comme plat principal, n’hésitez pas: go for the tenderloin, a tender hunk of beef cooked to your desired cuisson and accompanied by crisp asparagus, mushroom, carrot and gratin dauphinoise (lamelles of potato blanketed with molten cheese). At just 45,000 LBP (USD 30), this is the best value filet mignon you’ll find in Lebanon, let alone at a five-star hotel.
|Filet de boeuf in herb sauce with gratin dauphinoise|
Desserts are sensational, from the exotic fruits platter drizzled with berry coulis (20,000 LL), to the delicate tarte tatin topped with vanilla bean ice cream (17,000 LL). The crème brûlée is cloyingly sweet and lacks the characteristic burnt sugar shell on top (18,000 LL). But that’s partially made up for with a cylindrical wand of shortbread, moist and crisp all at once. If you’re a fan of cinnamon rolls, opt for the pain perdu (17,000 LL), whose roasted hazelnut halves add a desirable textural contrast to its spongy consistency.
|Exotic fruits with berry coulis|
Waitstaff are kind and accommodating, but there are still wrinkles to smooth out. Attention to detail is imperative in a venue this majestic, so it’d be well if they refilled guests' cups without being beckoned.
In the way of menu, I'd enrich the appetizer selection to encompass typical Parisian salads, which come copious and composed of cholesterol-rich matter (Comté and fried egg, anyone?). Quiches, escargots, and a seasonal chestnut soup are cornerstone entrées in the French dining sphere.
And how about the quintessential canard, either confit or magret, in the main dish department? Generous plateaux of fromages and charcuterie would be welcome, as would lesser known desserts like Ile Flottante and clafoutis aux cerises.
Chez Alain has a little ways to go before becoming a unique destination for French cuisine. It’s already got a huge edge on location, ambiance, and view. Jazz up the food offering and flesh out the cellar with exquisite French wines, and you just might reconsider that weekend getaway to Paris.
|Behold the opulent decor|
Grand Hills Broumana
+961 4 868 922