CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
A Trip to the Castle of Sweets Tripoli: Abdel Rahman Al Hallab
There's One Address for Kashta Desserts: Tripoli
When I was a kid, I remember going all the way with my parents to Tripoli for Lebanese sweets, they used to say they were the best. Since then I’ve known that you can't visit or pass through Tripoli without a stopover at Abdelrahman for a bite.
This is a love story that has developed over the many articles I've written to date. Their ashta ice cream I adore, the rolled ice cream with halawet el Jeben I love, their Sfiha as well as the knefe, and surely be rice and chicken stuffed ouzi, it’s all wonderful.
My favorite of all are the Znoud el Set, a portion of Znoud el Set served warm, crunchy puff pastry fried and soaked with sugar syrup and stuffed with fresh ashta which is produced in-house. My wife never understood why would travel all the way to Tripoli for these when they’re available closer to home; I'm not sure why, maybe the nostalgia is part of it, but for sure the taste is different.
Visiting Tripoli for a review of Bread Basket, I had to stop for a dessert. A portion of Znoud el Set and another of Mafrouket Festok, something that looks like Al Daoukieh.
Nestled in the heart of Tripoli, the castle of sweets welcomes you day and night for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering a large selection of sweets as well as chocolates, ice cream and food. They have a plat du jour, changed on a daily basis, combining local and international food. I've already talked about the way they put the cutlery in nylon bags and the professionalism of staff, nothing has changed.
- Znoud el Set is heaven! One can't leave this world without experiencing this heavenly creation; I pity people who don't have the chance to put this under their teeth. A soft puff pastry, thin like paper, warm and shining like a gold bar, topped with ground pistachio and decorated with ashta. Just put it in your mouth and wait, wait for it to activate your senses, wait for it to amaze. Push it under your palate, hear it crumble, feel it melt... The creator deserves an award. We really do have awesome Lebanese creations and we should be proud of them. A smooth sweetness, a rich heart... Man, words are not enough!
- The Mafroukeh: Comparing it with the Daoukieh is a huge mistake. Too watery and tender, the piece doesn't look appealing, the pistachio layers are too thin, and it doesn't have cashew nuts and has a very intensely strong aromatic flavor that spoils the experience. It feels heavy, the pistachio flavor is too strong, the intensity of the sugar is too high. The texture is sandy and a bit unpleasant. Nothing to do with Daoukieh and not one of the pieces I'll order again.
- Basmet el Hallab: Fried vermicelli on top of a layer of ashta, Mafrouket festok, ashta again and vermicelli down below. A bit dull in taste, it needs sugar syrup to flavor it. I loved the textures, it has an oily taste I wouldn't have wanted to feel, but the overall taste is enjoyable and creative.
I've always loved their Znoud el Set and I believe they are the best in Lebanon as well as their Halawat el Jeben. All the way to Tripoli from Beirut is worth it! The taste is orgasmic.