This morning, I left home on a mission to find a nice place to have a calm and decent breakfast in Beirut. Where should I go?
I thought of going to try Mandaloun Cafe's breakfast buffet, then Sydney's at the Vendome Hotel came to mind. I also thought of Urbanista, which I adore, Mmmm! that brie omelet - I can still taste it... But I then thought to myself why not try the breakfast at one of the hotels in Lebanon. I headed down to Hamra where 35 Rooms Hotel is located. Dubbed the trendiest hotel in Beirut today. I have been following up on the photos of the hotel online and was intrigued by the artistic and funky approach in 35 Rooms. I wanted see it live and experience it. The breakfast at 35 Rooms is served next to the lobby. You walk into a closed terrace, open 06:00am and 10:30am, for breakfast.
Honestly I was disappointed. I expected something funky and colorful. Yet I was welcomed into a bland atmosphere. Grey walls, grey ceiling, grey flooring. No color. Ouf! Heavy to digest even though one of the walls is in red with patterns. But it was not easy to see, especially from where I was sitting. I should have sat there instead. But in all cases its the bland part you see as a first impression as you walk in. The background music has no identity. We started with Fayrouz, followed with a mix of lounge music and ended the breakfast with modern upbeat music. The 'trendiest' hotel needs trendy music all the way. Scanning the place, I was looking at the details of the breakfast room. The finishing is unacceptable. Again I state: A trendy hotel needs to be trendy in all it's setup. I expected a better interior in the breakfast area with a nice and neat finishing that should all be synchronized to perfection - even the runners used at the buffet should be different, neater...
- The buffet is restraint and small. It's like they want to make it big and diversified but unfortunately it's not successful. A buffet can be simple but look more appealing. I remembered The Kempinski Duke's Palace in Bruges where although little choice was available at the buffet, it was so beautifully presented that it makes you smile without the need of asking for more. - The croissant is not fresh, prepared the night before and microwaved for breakfast, it chews unpleasantly. - The cheese choices are very limited. - A lot of cereals, jam, labneh, olives... decorate the buffet. - A choice of fresh juices, coffee and tea are available... I tried their American coffee with cream, fresh and tasty.
The Best Part and Worth Trying:
Pancakes are extraordinary: Thin with a light crust adequately cooked with a brownish color without being chewy or heavy. I enjoyed it with chocolate spread and another with jam.
An Important Fix:
- I would imagine this cafe with an open door to the streets of Beirut, where tourists can stop in for coffee. Why not? - I would add a few couches for long relaxing hours of computer work and discussions. - A continuous soft lounge and trendy music playing in the background. - A warmer ambiance with more colors and more lights, especially as you walk into the breakfast room. - Since it's catered by Casper&Gambini's I would recommend giving the opportunity for guests to taste the Mankouche, Labneh and Eggs everyone loves at C&G, among their other tasty choices. Especially the tourists who don't know and haven't tried C&G. How about to offer some of the finest ice tea mixes in Lebanon created by C&G and served at 35 Rooms?
I would only come back for the Pancakes, honestly.