We were invited to Rare Restaurant, a charming restaurant nestled in Achrafieh, to celebrate their 10th anniversary the other night.
We received a warm welcome by restaurant owner, Wael Haddad, who so patiently guided us through Rare’s concept and menu, which by the way is printed on the placemats – clever.
Rare Restaurant offers an extensive wine list and their menu is full of mouthwatering choices prepared by the talented Chef Cynthia Bitar.
After choosing our appetizers, we were offered white and multi-cereal baguette cut into slices with (unsalted) herb butter. The bread was not warm, but it was definitely fresh. I would however suggest that the butter be taken out of the fridge earlier in order to easily spread it and enjoy it on the fresh bread.
For appetizers, we ordered Goat Cheese & Tomato Tart, Kama & Rocca Salad.
The Goat Cheese & Tomato Tart (16,000 LBP), recommended by our host, was a thin pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) generously filled with warm goat cheese topped with a slightly thick layer of cooked tomato and served with a simple side salad and balsamic dressing. The combination of flavours was exquisite, but the puff pastry was too soft and had no bite to it.
My favourite was the Kama & Rocca Salad (26,000 LBP), hands down. A generous portion of juicy meaty kama (desert truffles) on a large bed of rocket and thyme leaves with a sweet, tart balsamic dressing.
Next, the main course
Next arrived a beautiful plate of black rice surrounded by bell peppers topped with a plump baked sea bass and decorated with baby calamari and spicy chorizo (39,000 LBP). I would have preferred a wild and basmati rice for this dish though.
The Stretched Ravioli (20,000 LBP) stuffed with melanzane (eggplant) came with a bell pepper
sauce. It was not to my taste (probably since I am a loyal ravioli-stuffed-with-spinach-and-ricotta fan), but my date liked it.
The grilled beef filet was excellent. We ordered it with baked potato, perfect crunchy hand-cut fries, steamed vegetables and mushroom sauce – you get to choose 1 side and 1 sauce (44,000 LBP). I didn’t like the mushroom sauce because it was oily and I prefer a much creamier texture.
We were stuffed, but we couldn’t leave without having dessert!
There is no actual dessert menu at Rare, but rather dessert(s) of the day.
The Fondant au Chocolat was delicious – it was not too sweet and the molten chocolate oozed out perfectly as soon as you cut into it. It was served with sweet vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds which contrasted nicely with the bitter dark chocolate.
We also indulged in a sweet Banoffee Tart, which is the best I’ve ever tasted! I definitely recommend it if you love caramel like I do. However, I insist you share it though as it may make you feel sick due to its sweetness.
Our dining experience was indeed an enjoyable one. It was nice not to feel rushed between courses, which allowed us to taste and at the same time enjoy our meal. There is one thing that we would change though. Those commercial radio songs were so out of place in such an intimate and charming restaurant!
Don’t be misled by the name “Rare Restaurant”! Their menu actually features a wide selection of (well done) dishes for all preferences including seafood and vegetarian options. Rare Restaurant has offered its guests high standards and quality for 10 years and counting.
What I recommend:
- Rare’s Kama & Rocca Salad
- Banoffee Pie
- Fondant au Chocolat
Address: Salim Bustros Street, Achrafieh, Beirut
Contact: +961-1-211122 / +961-1-211133
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