Hummus and Muhammara
Lebanese fare can easily qualify as comfort food. The creamy hummus, the pickled vegetables, the char-grilled aubergine dip, baba ghanoush, the spiced and grilled meat and the abundance of garlic and olive oil make for flavourful and satisfying meals.
When we heard about Beirut, a week-old delivery place in Bandra dedicated to Lebanese cuisine that goes beyond the ubiquitous shawarmas and hummus, we were intrigued. The menu has plenty of hummus, pita and Mezze platters and also, Mediterranean Nachos (with vegetables, lebneh, pickles and feta cheese).
The place is difficult to locate (don't trust Google Maps). Although delivery is restricted to four kilometres, as a special request — and because the bill was over Rs 1,000 — they agreed to come up to Santacruz. Beirut's menu may be extensive but since half of it was unavailable, we had to skip the Between the Sheets section, the Pita pockets and the Prawn Shawarma.
Gyro Chicken Shawarma
We started with the favourites. The Gyro Chicken Shawarma (Rs 175) felt a bit dry despite being coated with hummus and lebneh. The addition of extra hummus, ordered as an accompaniment, helped. The plain Hummus (Rs 60) though creamy, tasted just like chickpea paste so we abandoned that for the flavourful Pesto Hummus (Rs 70), which had the fresh herb-ey bite of basil.
The Beetroot Hummus (R60) had the colour but didn't taste like beet at all.
The Lamb Kibbeh (Rs 320) was bland and lacked seasoning. We loved Zaatar Pita Hummus (Rs 130) comprising baked pita rubbed with the herby spice-filled mix.
From the meals section, the Sheesh Taouk (Rs 280) was a wholesome and delicious meal of tender and well seasoned chicken resting on a bed of sour cream and topped with crunchy vegetables and olives. The Mezze Platter (Rs 280), too, impressed with the crunchiness of the fried falafel softened by the baba ghanoush and quinoa salad.
Our favourite picks had much to do with the amount of cheese added to them. There are fries, and there are Beirut's Greek Fries (Rs 130). This snack had long potato fingers tossed in za'atar, with crumbled feta adding a hint of saltiness and for that extra pizzaz, a topping of fried garlic. We liked the feta bits in the Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad (Rs 220), a wholesome salad with crunchy vegetables and pita chips sans dressing.
Beirut has its food philosophy and service in place; some of their food just needs a bit of tweaking.
Time: 6 pm to 1 am
At: Shop G-1, Silver Croft, 16th Cross, Pali Hill, Bandra (W).