I had the opportunity to try a number of delectable menu items at Prune Bistro with some friends at a Zomato Foodie Meetup last night.
As usual, we arrived 10 minutes early although we very well know that the other guests won’t arrive any time soon. Pros? You get the best seats (by “seats”, I mean “lighting”). Cons? You end up eating bread and butter for dinner with a side of salted peanuts. The sad truth? I am not exactly sure the cons outweigh the pros!
So when dinner finally started to arrive at the table, of course no one ate. Eating would be blasphemy! The plates are the stars. Flashing lights, pushing and shoving and a minimum of 5 photos taken per dish (per person. myself included!).
Even with the 5 photos taken of that chicken from 10 different angles (I don’t know, do the math!), the evening lighting will almost always fudge up every one of them. Then again, sometimes the presentation is just a disaster and in that case no lights or photo editors can salvage them.
As for the food…
So the choice of starters was not up to our expectations. I personally expected more French specialty dishes to be served coming from a French bistro (such as escargots, grenouilles…). Today’s starters were Salad Romana, Grilled Calamari et Poulpes, Burrata, and Goat Cheese Salad.
A dish of mostly arugula leaves, 2 grilled artichoke hearts cut in halves, thinly sliced parmesan and sprinkled with kale chips, the Salad Romana was very average and way over seasoned.
The Grilled Calamari et Poulpes (25,000 LBP) were chewy and extremely salty, which was a shame because this happens to be one of my favourite dishes.
The Burrata (32,000 LBP) served on a bed of cherry tomatoes marinated in pesto sauce was delicious, however needed more pesto. I added a touch of balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavour.
I ordered the famous Goat Cheese Salad (19,000 LBP) with prunes at Acote (Prune’s neighbouring restaurant and sister) a few months ago and fell in love. Tonight when I tried this same salad, I was rather let down. I’m not exactly sure what was missing (maybe it needed more dressing). I’m not saying it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as great as I remember.
The main dishes arrived not long after we were finished with the starters.
The Risotto aux Cèpes (38,000 LBP) was the first to arrive: a dull-looking plate of sticky risotto with shaved parmesan. The aromas of this plate were strong. The taste was remarkable. The risotto was cooked perfectly with truffle oil, a pronounced flavour in the dish. Not everyone enjoyed it, however it really comes down to preference. I personally loved it, but the only thing I would change is the presentation. Maybe add a basil leaf or a garnish of coriander / parsley around the plate (whatever the chef thinks complements the truffle risotto).
Delicious Entrecote Tagliata style with crunchy fries (39,000 LBP) – Sliced Ribeye steak seared medium to well-done and seasoned with a (generous) sprinkle of sea salt.
Poulet aux Prunes (36,000 LBP) with a side of pomme purée (a specialty at Prune Bistro; hence the name). This plate, like the risotto, comes down to preference. I personally didn’t like the prune sauce; I found it way too sweet. However others seemed to enjoy it. The mashed potato on the side had a hint of truffle oil, which was pleasant and not too overwhelming.
Before dessert arrived, the charming owner of Prune Bistro, Samer Maroun, came to our table asking our opinion. A few of the guests mentioned that the salads were not “outstanding” and pointed out a few of the issues. He refused to let them leave without trying two salads while humorously saying that if we did not like them, then he will simply close the restaurant!
An additional two salads arrived shortly: the King Crab Salad (39,000 LBP) with fresh cooked crab meat (delicious!) and the Smoked Salmon Salad (24,000 LBP) with wild greens, celeriac and avocado.
Now the moment I was waiting for the entire night:
Le Pain Retrouvé (12,000 LBP). It was the star of the evening, outshining all the other dishes. I think my stomach consciously saved room for this, because I am usually full by dessert.
Two thick slices of moist caramelized brioche topped with caramel sauce and served with vanilla ice cream and shaved almonds. You have found it indeed!
Address: Madrid Street, Mar Mikhael, Beirut
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