Les Malins, the recently opened French brasserie in The Backyard in Hazmieh, has been calling out to me; its mouthwatering pictures off their menu tempting me to come for a visit. And that I did.
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in spring when we decided to have a late lunch at Les Malins. We were a group of 4; T couldn’t make it today so I couldn’t get his biceps in my pictures as usual. No matter, there will be another visit. Plus, this time I got much more charming feminine features from the girls in my snapshots 😉
T, just so you see the consequences for leaving me in Beirut on my own for another consecutive weekend:
Once you arrive to Les Malins, you’re met with a bright spacious terrace boasting a tasteful modern industrial architecture style with a charming and aesthetic design. Every table is humbly adorned with a touch of colourful spring flowers.
The background music was awfully loud and not too pleasant, but that’s not their fault, since it’s coming from The Backyard complex itself. It was turned down a notch a little later.
Let’s Have Lunch at Les Malins 🙂
Les Malins offers just over 60 different beers from around the world; you absolutely must ask for their Beer Bible, even though it’s still being reviewed.
After ordering a selection of appetizers and mains from the menu to share, we were served our drinks with a warm bread basket accompanied by tasty herbed butter (at slightly room temperature – the way it should be, well done!) and a generous bowl of mixed dried fruits and raw nuts.
Our food arrived 15 minutes after we ordered.
We started with the Aubergines Grillées (15,000 LBP) which was beautifully presented grilled eggplant topped with pomegranate, fresh mint leaves, peppercress, and crumbled goat cheese, topped with a honey balsamic vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was not too apparent, however, Ali (our waiter) insisted that it’s better that way. By the way, we all still insist that it needed more of a “drizzle”. I would order this again with more of that delicious vinaigrette we were all pining for.
The Croque Monsieur (18,000 LBP) at Les Malins, another gorgeous presentation, arrived with our Aubergine starter. The long rectangular toast with melted Emmental cheese and ham is served with a side of greens. It was tasty, but I personally prefer mozzarella; the others loved it! This one comes down to preference really.
Calamars Comme des Spaghetti Bolognaises (24,000 LBP) followed; a generous portion of grilled calamari on top of a sauce made of tomato and parmesan cream. We all tried the dish and none of us really liked the calamari and “Bolognaise” combination – it was too “fishy”. The sauce was lovely if it had been served with pasta, and the calamari was perfectly cooked and would have been great with a lemon oil or even a pesto- or cream-based sauce. However, Parmesan, tomato sauce, and calamari just don’t work in coherence.
Now for the Mains
The Burger Gourmand (27,000 LBP) was delicious! In a fluffy sesame-seed bun, you get Australian Black Angus patty (cooked to your liking), a slice of crispy bacon (more, please!), melted cheddar, caramelized onions, potato fritter, lettuce, and “sauce rose”, which is served with homemade French Fries. The beef was tender and flavourful and the ingredients balanced perfectly together. I would only sort out the fries issue, since they were slightly undercooked and wilted. The second batch we received was slightly better, but I’m sure it can be improved.
The Poulet Fermier Grillé (28,000 LBP) was my favourite dish! Grilled farm-raised chicken breast, Basmati Almond Rice with dried cranberries, and a very generous cup of mushroom sauce were presented on a wooden board. I thoroughly enjoyed this! The chicken was so juicy, the rice was perfectly cooked, and I would visit Les Malins again just to have that heavenly creamy mushroom sauce which was FILLED with mushrooms. Exquisite!
My only comments would be that the almonds could be toasted for an enhanced flavour experience matching that “toasted” fragrant note that Basmati rice is so famous for, and also to consider removing the cranberries as they didn’t pair too well with the white mushroom sauce.
Time for Dessert
Le Meilleur Pain Perdu de Paris (18,000 LBP) featured a round thick Brioche bread served with a saucer of maple syrup, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, sliced strawberries, and crumble. First, where is the rest of the strawberry?! Second, please reconsider the size of the ice cream with repsect to the brioche; it was so tasty, we craved more. The brioche itself was a bit dry and bland without the maple syrup, which isn’t what I expected from a name like the “meilleur” (i.e. best) Pain Perdu of Paris! I still prefer caramel sauce to maple syrup when it comes to Pain Perdu – please leave the syrup for French Toast or Pancakes 😉
The Crème Brûlée (14,000 LBP), on the other hand, was utterly delightful! It’s served warm which makes it even more enjoyable in my opinion. Its rich custard base wasn’t “eggy” at all. Highly recommended! The Crème Brûlée at Les Malins is even better than the one I constantly praise from Le Relais de L’Entrecote.
Firstly, I LOVE the Churchill tableware! Those plates are so beautiful that I was trying to refrain from ruining them with food :’)
Les Malins doesn’t have hand gel or wet wipes once you finish your meal, which I think should be available.
In general, the dishes we ordered was enjoyable and tasty. I would highly recommend the Grilled Chicken, Cheeseburger (minus the fries), and Crème Brûlée! I would even order the Grilled Eggplant with goat cheese starter again if we’re visiting in the evening and I’m going for a light option to share or to have all for myself.
Ali was very friendly throughout our entire lunch experience and strived to make our first visit a memorable one. As I’ve mentioned in previous restaurant reviews, service can make or break a restaurant, and kudos to Les Malins for working on maintaining that standard level of service one expects when dining out.
I’d like to try the brunch at Les Malins next, and the giant éclair, and the Berry Pavlova – okay it’s a long list!
Address: The Backyard Hazmieh, Said Freiha Street, Hazmieh, Baabda District
Contact: +961-81-600640 / +961-5-953317
IF YOU LIKED THIS Review, CHECK OUT MY Other RESTAURANT REVIEWS and my list of my favourite spots in Lebanon to indulge in Pain Perdu <3
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